How Time Flies When Stress is Involved!

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Hi readers!  Long time, no blog post!  I’m truly sorry about that!  My life has been filled with lots of stress the last 3 months, but it’s getting much better.  I’ve been on the hunt for a job outside the home in addition to working on getting my life coaching website and business, Your Listening Ear, up and running.  Throw in content creation for a new course I’m launching in September and my own personal money worries and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a few stress-filled months away from the blog!

A job has been found!

The good news is that after pursuing a couple of other career possibilities, I’ve finally found the job I feel I’m meant to have.  I’m the Program Coordinator of a Senior Center about 45 minutes away from where I live.  I started the job last week and I absolutely love it!  It uses the experiences and skills I’ve developed leading programs in churches over the last 20+ years in a new context: non-profit agency.

The journey has not been easy…

At the end of 2016 I left a job in a church I loved because my 25-hour a week position needed to be cut to 10-hours a week due to a budget shortfall.  I was very sad about leaving people I loved (I’ve loved every church I’ve served and miss so many people from each one), but my husband and I felt I was supposed to resign and pursue my dream of building up this blog to make it profitable and start my life coaching business.

So I cashed out my small Roth IRA with the expectation that it would cover my lost income for the next 6 months and that would be plenty of time to make money with my blog and life coaching business.

Neither turned out to be true.

I found there was so much to learn about blogging and website building.  It took a LOT longer than I anticipated to create the content needed to launch the blog and get my life coaching website, Your Listening Ear, to the point where I could show it to prospective clients.

The fact that doubt and fear kept creeping in certainly didn’t help.  After all, who would want to read my blog?  Who would PAY MONEY for my life coaching services?  Would anyone other than friends and family who are personally known to me be interested in what I have to offer on my blog and through my business?

Honestly, questions like this paralyzed me.

Then the money ran out.

4 months in, the Roth IRA was gone.  We had a couple of unanticipated, expensive repairs on our home and vehicles which used the money that was originally going to fund us through June 2017.

Thankfully, just as the money ran out, 2 opportunities to make some extra cash came my way within 24 hours of each other.

A friend of mine who is a pet sitter asked if I could help her occasionally with pet sitting when her schedule got too busy to serve all the clients she had.  Then a neighbor told me her nanny left and she was looking for someone to watch her children before and after school 3 days a week.

I was able to take both jobs.

There were days when I I had no idea how I was going to pay for gas for my car and I would get a text asking if I could help with a last-minute pet sitting job.  I sold off most of my purses and many household items we didn’t need or weren’t using to pay a few bills when there was a shortfall financially.

Every time there was a need, money appeared.

God provided for my family’s needs, even when I had no clue where the money was going to come from.  Not once was a bill paid late, nor were we without food, or gas for our vehicles.  Sure, we cut back tremendously on how much food we bought at the grocery store.  I made sure we always used up leftovers instead of allowing them to go bad and throw them out.  We completely cut out convenience store trips (though I love a good Wawa run-those of you in the greater Philadelphia area will understand!) and eating out.

We used to waste so much.

What I came to realize through this experience is that we used to waste so much!  We wasted food.  We wasted toiletries.  We bought things we really didn’t need.  We didn’t have much to show for all that credit card debt we’ve accumulated the past 12 years.

The good news is, we’re going to be just fine.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I have started a new job.  The pay is comparable to my old job but the hours and commute are much longer.  I don’t mind that, though, because I’m confident I’m where I’m supposed to be.  I have lots to offer the people at the new job and I have already received so much from them.

Without weekly money worries, blog ideas are flowing again!

So I’m back on track with my original plan to make money with my blog and life coaching business.  I have a plan to continue content creation for a couple of courses I want to offer as well as themes for group coaching online and blog posts that will be helpful to you, my readers.

How I handled stress effectively.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t always handle the stress of our financial situation and exploring who I am without identifying as a church worker very effectively.  However, there were a few things I did to cope that got me to where I am now.

1. I asked God for help.  I KNEW I wasn’t going to be able to do this on my own.  Even with my husband and I as a team, it was still going to take a lot more than either of us knew how to do to get us through. 

2. I read devotions daily.  By going on my phone daily and reading several different devotions, it reminded me that there are much more important things in life than the state of my finances.

3. I wrote down things I am grateful for in my day planner.  Every day I wrote down something I was grateful for.  Sometimes it was a specific thing that happened or it was a way I saw the world differently.  When I felt down or times got really rough I was able to look over the abundance of planner entries to see how many wonderful things were taking place in my life that didn’t involve money.  However, some of them did involve money! 

4. I looked for alternate ways to make money.  Selling off all the purses and wallets I wasn’t using or madly in love with, as well as selling off things like the microwave we used in our former rental house that we no longer needed (thank goodness for under cabinet microwaves!) and clothing that I wasn’t using (thank goodness for the second-hand clothing store!) was one way I made extra cash.  I also use a number of apps where you can make money, including Ebates, Ibotta, Lucktastic, Shopkick, and Swagbucks.  I had been using those apps so I could make a few hundred dollars to pay for Christmas presents for the kids, but when the money was needed, I cashed most of them out for payments to PayPal.  Thank goodness!  

5. I reminded myself to rely on God’s provision.  I trusted that God was in this with me and God had a purpose and plan for this struggle, so if that was really the case, I had to trust God and not rely only on my ability.  EVERY time I trusted God’s provision, even if I had no clue where the gas money or bill money was going to come from, God provided.

6. I asked myself if something I wished to buy was a want or a need.  Every time I felt sad about the extras I couldn’t give my kids, I reminded myself of Wants vs. Needs.  My 8-year old daughter stood in Walmart with me one day and told me it was okay not to buy a specific item for her because it was a want, not a need.  Lesson learned.  

7. I looked for jobs during the entire time I was unemployed.  Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re unemployed, finding a job needs to become your full-time job?”  That was my motto.  I looked at and applied for pretty much every job I felt I was qualified for, even if I didn’t think it was a job I particularly wanted at the time.  I figured I could take a job that wasn’t great and keep looking for something better.  I also felt that God had a place for me and if I applied to everything I could, God would sort out the jobs.  And I can honestly say that’s exactly what happened.  Even if a job was one I thought would pay well and I was well-qualified for, I didn’t want to fall into the trap of going to a well-paying job just for the money and ending up miserable.  When I applied for the job I’m currently in, I also applied for a job I was really excited about initially and I thought would pay very well.  It was a Pastoral Ministry Coordinator for the local branch of a multi-state Senior Living franchise with LOTS of money.  I was initially disappointed that I didn’t hear from them, but after accepting this job, I was grateful they didn’t contact me.  Friday I got the “We regret to inform you…” email.  They did me a favor.  I’m where I’m supposed to be. 

8. I leaned on my husband as much as possible.  The only thing worse than dealing with stress is dealing with it alone.  My husband was a huge support!  He listened, he wiped my tears, he reassured me, he gave me hugs, and he believed in me the entire time.  That is a priceless gift.  My hope for each one of you is that you have one person in your life who does the same for you.

What stressful events have you experienced in the last year?  Share your experiences in the comments below.

Your Gentle Nudge: How do you handle stressful events or experiences?  Are you able to see a purpose for your experiences?  As you look back on the event(s), what did you learn from it?  Take a look at your current coping strategies and find at least one new coping strategy to add to your toolbox.  Be sure to download the free list below of 99 Ways to Deal With Stress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are You a Doer or a Watcher?

Recently while I was at the gym, a very fit young man fell off a treadmill and hit his head on a wall. I didn’t see him fall or hit his head, but I did notice he had fallen and wasn’t getting up. By the time I got my treadmill to pause and went over to check on him, several people were standing over him, asking him if he was okay.

As the sea of people grew, nobody was doing much to help him.  He was lying face down, so I asked him if he was able to sit up.  He crouched instead, so I asked him to sit on the edge of the treadmill, which he did.  One woman took his pulse.  I asked him if he had any water and he said no, so another woman grabbed her bottle of water and gave it to him.  I asked one man to alert the staff to call 911.  A couple of people who saw what was happening went to tell the staff that the man needed help.

When I first asked the man to sit on the treadmill, the woman on the treadmill directly beside him told me he hit his head hard when he fell.  She continued her walk on the treadmill as she told me this, never getting off to help the man, even after he hit his head.  Several other people close by also watched from their gym equipment and continued their workouts, but never stopped to help.

This caused me to wonder what made some people stop what they were doing to help this man while others continued what they were doing.  I know from some of the classes I took for my psychology degree as well as my own personal experience that some people are watchers and some people are doers.  There is nothing wrong with being a watcher instead of a doer.  And there is nothing wrong with being a doer instead of a watcher.  But I started thinking about the pros and cons of both sides.

start doing sign

Pros of being a Doer

*You act quickly.

*You get things done.

*You help others in need.

*You are usually proactive.

*You tend to act in times of crisis.

picture of an owl

Pros of being a Watcher

*You stay out of other people’s way.

*You observe things that doers may not notice.

*You offer helpful information from your observations.

*You don’t immediately jump to conclusions based on what you think you know.

So there are benefits to being both a doer and a watcher.  But where there are positives, there are usually negatives.

Rosie the Riveter poster

Cons of being a Doer

*May act quickly before having all the necessary information.

*Others may think you are being pushy or bossy.

*May not make the best decisions due to your rush to act, even though your intentions are probably wonderful.

*May have a hard time seeing beyond the immediate situation or moment.

binoculars

Cons of being a Watcher

*May overthink things and never take action

*May feel isolated or lonely due to staying on the sidelines

*May be perceived as aloof or uncaring when you’re actually trying to process what is happening.

Doers tend to be extroverted and watchers tend to be introverted.  This is not always the case, but it is the tendency.  We never know what a person’s life experience has brought them, but I can assure you that everyone has reasons, whether conscious or subconscious, for their doer or watcher behaviors.  Everyone has a history.

Back to the gym: After 2 gym staff members came to help the man, they asked me what happened, and I told them everything I knew.  Most of the onlookers had dispersed by then and resumed their workouts.  Once the man was in the care of the gym staff, I headed back to my treadmill.  A lady told me that I did a nice job of taking care of the situation.  I must admit I was surprised by her comment.  In my mind, it was the right thing to do and my actions were pretty much second nature.  After all, I just wanted to make sure the man was okay.  But as I thought about her comment later, I realized my actions are not second nature to everyone.  Thus, this blog post.  :o)

I am happy to say that the man from the gym seemed to be okay after the EMT’s arrived and checked him out.  He got up at 6 am and had not eaten anything that morning.  This incident happened just before 10 am.  He also didn’t have water with him, as I stated earlier.  As I was leaving the gym, he was sitting in the lobby with a Powerade, so I asked him how he was feeling and how he was getting home.  He said he was feeling better and that the friend he came to the gym with was driving him home.  I wished him well, filled out a witness report of the incident for the gym, and left.

Thinking about times in my life when I’ve jumped in and allowed my doer tendencies to take over, I realize that my well-intentioned efforts to help were not always appreciated or understood.  Sometimes people have perceived my actions as controlling, which was never my intention.  As an emotional, intuitive, feelings-based person, this always hurts.  I have a sister-in-law who is introverted and is definitely a watcher, and she has told me that people think she is withdrawn or uncaring because she tends to stay quiet and assess situations before she is comfortable with interacting.  She says this hurts her as well.  We all hurt when people judge us.

So the next time you interact with someone who is a doer, remember they usually just want to help.  And the next time you interact with someone who is a watcher, remember that they need time to process things and they can offer valuable insights we doers might miss at first.

Are you a doer or a watcher?  Please share below in the comments.  What items would you add to any of the 4 lists above?  Share in the comments!

Your Gentle Nudge: If you are a doer, what can you learn from watchers?  If you’re a watcher, what can you learn from doers?  How can what you learn from the other group help you achieve your goals?  Do you need to observe more or act more?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books to Better Your Life-Grace Not Perfection

 

This post contains at least one affiliate link.  That means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  It’s the company’s way of thanking me for recommending a product they sell.  This commission helps me fund this blog and feed my kids.  Thanks!  

 

row of colorful books

I recently read the book Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley. This book is one you should check out because it contains a lot of helpful tips about keeping your home and life organized as well as snippets of Emily’s personal story.  The book also explores the concept of God’s grace with us and our grace toward ourselves and others.  Thus the title Grace Not Perfection.  For me, the grace part was very powerful and taking the time to read.  

The book itself is a joy to explore. There are a number of beautiful pictures and quotes which I found inspirational.   I love color!  The pages themselves are thick and luscious, and a book made like this is the reason I personally enjoy reading a physical book as opposed to an ebook.  Not that you’re going to read a book due to the way it feels in your hand.  But it was an added bonus since I was interested in the book since I spotted it in a local store.  

Grace Not Perfection is broken down into three sections:

Part 1: Grace With Yourself

Part 2: Grace With Your People

Part 3: Grace in Your Calling

One of the topics Emily Ley talks about is the trap of perfection and comparing yourself to others who seem to have everything together when you feel like you’re falling apart.  I wasn’t a young mom when Pinterest came into being, so I never felt the internal pressure to have a Pinterest-perfect home like she talks about.  However, I did feel like I had to have a clean and uncluttered home if someone stopped by when my kids were little.  We lived on an Air Force base at the time and I still never achieved the clean and uncluttered home I thought I was supposed to have (and the military used to require if you lived in base housing!).

As a forty-something wife and working mother of two tweens, I wasn’t certain I would be able to relate to the content of this book since my babies are no longer babies.  Emily Ley is a young working mom who has struggled with being both mom and entrepreneur simultaneously.  She speaks to certain issues which arise when dealing with the demands of work and toddlers.  Honestly, I think dealing with work can be easier than dealing with the demands of toddlers!

Even with the age gap between the author and I, I was pleasantly surprised by the insights Emily Ley had to offer me! I really liked this book!  I especially liked Parts 2 & 3.

Emily is a person of faith, so be prepared to read about her journey with God and her insights about life from this perspective.  I loved her insights, but I know this turns some readers off.  Please know that she doesn’t beat you over the head with Christianity, so even if you don’t believe in God, there is something of value in this book for you as well.

If you’re ready to be encouraged, if you could use a few practical tips on dealing with organizing your home with small children, if you could stand to read examples of changing your perspective effectively and making it through life’s challenges, no matter what stage of life you’re in, this book is for you.  I highly encourage you to check it out at your local library or grab it on Amazon.  Happy reading!

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