Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December Numbers are in

Our average daily spending for 2015 is $17.94 a day

With one day to go I am calling this year financially DONE! Woohoo!!!
I did it. I actually met my goal. I'm giving myself $17 to spend tomorrow, which is going to go in the grocery category because that's what I should be spending it on. I will NOT spend more than $17 and I came in under an $18 a day spending average this year. Happy, happy, happy dance!

The average daily spending for food groceries for 2015 is $11.68 a day

Considering that for five years the title of this blog has been "$12 a day," I love that the food spending/ groceries for the year is nicely under the $12 a day mark.

Average daily spending for December is $14.93 a day

December averages and Spending categories:
Groceries $258.49: avg/ $8.34 a day
Food out $16.44: avg/ 53 cents a day
Pets $2.50: avg/ 8 cents a day
Stuff $4.76: avg/ 15 cents a day
Toiletries $15.50: avg/ 50 cents a day
Christmas $165.06: avg/ $5.33 a day

December 2015 Total: $462.74
Groceries $17    12.31
Groceries $9.99    12.30
Christmas clearance items $6.35    12.30
NO SPEND day 103    12.29
NO SPEND day 102    12.28
NO SPEND day 101    12.27
NO SPEND day 100    12.26
NO SPEND day 99    12.25
Groceries $3.24    12.24
Groceries $22.59    12.23
Christmas $9.99    12.23
NO SPEND day 98    12.22
Christmas $4.98    12.21
Starbucks $6.04    12.21
Groceries $14.21    12.21
DVD's to back up photos $4.76    12.20
Groceries $32.94    12.19
Christmas $33.21    12.19
NO SPEND day 97    12.18
Groceries $17.37    12.17
Dog treats $2.50    12.17
Christmas $23.22    12.17
NO SPEND day 96    12.16
Groceries $20.45    12.15
NO SPEND day 95    12.14
Groceries $40.82    12.13
Arby's $7.40    12.12
Groceries $3.59    12.11
Christmas $37.12    12.10
Christmas $22.50    12.9
Groceries $6.82    12.9
Groceries $6.74    12.8
NO SPEND day 94    12.7
Christmas card materials $14.07    12.6
Groceries $37.73    12.5
Christmas $13.62    12.5
NO SPEND day 93    12.4
Toiletries $15.50    12.3
Groceries $25    12.3
Coffee $3    12.3
NO SPEND day 92    12.2
NO SPEND day 91    12.1

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


It's looking like I'm going to have a five day NO SPEND run. I'd planned to not spend any money on Christmas day or the day after but I was sure I'd run to the store on Sunday. There were a few things that I wanted to get for the Sunday family gathering but I opted not to make a trip to the store beforehand and improvised instead.

On Monday I was going to run out but the ice storm came in before I went out and so, nope. I stayed put. Today I thought I'd go out as well but our car is pretty much stuck in the driveway and I'm perfectly fine with it staying right where it is for now (until my husband has to go to work tonight). Taking two days vacation yesterday and today turned out to be very smart. I would not want to be driving all over in this stuff.

This morning we walked to a small diner for breakfast. We received a gift certificate to the diner from my husband's grandma (I do not like this particular diner but a free breakfast out with the family is a free breakfast out with the family, I can't complain).

Five no spends in a row has brought the average daily spending down to a nice place. With only two days left in the year I'm getting really antsy to call it. Oh I'm SOOOO close to meeting my goal for the year of coming in under an $18 a day average spending. SO close!!!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.95

Monday, December 28, 2015

Two bits of lovely today

I received an envelope in the mail today. Our address had been written wrong (missing a number) and there was no return label. I could tell there was a hand written note inside before even opening it and I suspected it was from my grandpa.

I have one living grandparent now. Both of my parents were youngest children in rather large families. (well, until my dad's twin brothers came along very unexpectedly when my grandma was rather old) My grandpa is in his 90's now but he gets along great. I hear that he's still riding a bicycle every single day, much to the dislike of all his children. He lives about three hours from us and we see him about two times a year. I really wish it were more often.

I send my grandpa a Christmas card every year and for the past few year's I've included a photo of my son and a group photo of his great grandkids, my dad's grandkids. My grandpa has always been a man of VERY few words. My grandmother was forever "the talker" of the couple. So much so that my grandpa spent most of his life sitting back, when not at work and listening to her go on and on and on. He even commented at her funeral that it was a shame that now he'd have to learn to talk.

I opened the envelope and sure enough it was a short and sweet hand written note from my grandpa thanking me for the photos and mentioning how little Abe didn't look afraid at all to be sitting up there on that big horse. This little note is an absolutely lovely addition to my day! A simple piece of paper with a few sentences jotted down on it that feels rather like having received $500 in the mail.

And lovely bit number two: my favorite Christmas gift this year. I'm certain you can guess who I received this from. There are a few incredible things about this gift that just melt my heart. First, that it is from my son who picked out what he wanted to paint and then painted it for me. He also did an excellent job keeping this a secret. Only the day before New Year's Eve did he break and told me that he and daddy got me a horse for Christmas. And secondly that my husband went to the trouble all on his own to take little Abe to one of those paint-a-pot places to make this for me. My husband isn't generally... he normally wouldn't do something like this which makes this all the more special.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

This and That

1. Our four party run is officially over. It was nice but WAY too much to pack into four days straight. (we have a fifth party next weekend; I don't need to bring any gifts but that one has an almost 6 hour drive round trip)

2. The kiddos seemed to really like the homemade gifts. My niece, who I wrote the book for, whispered to me that it was her favorite present this year with a little side note, "actually my second favorite present." She said the karaoke machine she got was her favorite. Come on, what can beat a karaoke machine for an eight year old girl? Then she proceeded to read through almost half the book before the family gathering was over. She is a FAST reader! I think she was reading through it faster than I did during my million edits. My other niece said something like, "I don't like the blanket I absolutely LOVE it." I'm a happy aunt :)

3. The average daily spending for the year right now is at $18.03 a day. I desperately want to come in under an $18 a day average for this year. There's only four days left in the year but very little food left in our house. Now, this is an accomplishment that I'm TOTALLY capable of pulling off, the "under $18 a day" goal but I've put myself so darn close that the littlest thing could blow it. Additionally this month has been so rough with the whole self control, crazy emotions thing, gah, this is honestly going to be very difficult.

4. I'm supposed to have the next two days off of work (I put in vacation for them) but we also have a super time sensitive project this week and I won't know when I can start it up until the stores start e-mailing me. I REALLY hope I have the next two days off. I'm ready for some serious rest and relaxation.

That's probably about it for now.

This was on the way to party number three.
He pulled his hat down like that and fell asleep about two seconds later.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas gift crafting almost complete. Hooray!

I chose to make gifts for four of our eight nieces and nephews this year. This post is pre-mature because I have one gift left to go but I'm pretty excited with how the gifts are coming together. We attended a party yesterday, went to my in-laws today, will be going to another party tomorrow and will be going to my brother's on Sunday. These gifts, along with the one I've yet to finish are for Sunday.

I had almost all the materials on hand for these gifts but I cannot tell you how many hours when into each of them. I honestly started to think I would never finish any of them but, hooray, I actually completed three out of the four with two days to spare. If you asked my husband he'd gladly tell you that I'm normally working frantically hours before the gathering to finish all of the gifts I committed to making. Yes, I have horrible procrastination issues.

So, here is the little quilt I posted a few photos of awhile back. It has her name on it and I do hope she will really like it. I think it's adorable. The white block is actually a flower print that I adore. The back is a lilac cordory (also seen in two spots on the front).

This one I think I already posted photos of complete. A smaller baby doll quilt along with a very original (no pattern/ made up as I went) rag doll for my two year old nephew.

And yes, that is a poorly bound young reader chapter book that I wrote for my niece. She's interested in marine biology so I wrote an adventure story about three friends, a starfish, a turtle, and a sergeant major damselfish. (she's also interested in becoming the president) I have tried to write books before (aka, I have a few in the works) but this is the first thing I ever wrote, edited, completed, and then printed and bound (it's sloppy). I'm super proud of this and despite it's MANY flaws I really hope she loves it. The simple fact that I completed it after the many many hours I spent on it makes it probably my favorite gift I've ever given (again, despite the flaws; it's printed crooked, it's bound sloppily, the print is really too large for her age, it should be a bit longer for her reading level, I wanted to put several little sketches in it but almost certainly will not, blah, blah, I love it! (have I mentioned that I'm a perfectionist? haha!)).

Quick post; Merry Christmas

I promise I did NOT set this one up. Look what my husband gave to me yesterday:

A new mug with my kiddo's face on it. It arrived in the mail Christmas Eve. I hadn't even told him that I broke the Coast Guard mug yet. Not that we're in short supply of mugs but what a neat coincidence. The other one must have been informed, gotten jealous and done itself in. I wish we could have talked it through. I mean I would have told it that I had enough love in my heart for more than one really neat mug (hush, hush, I have several mugs that I really like a lot). Too late now but what a neat Christmas gift!
(The artist/printer friend of ours who donated the t-shirt to the 1000th post giveaway printed this mug)

Merry Christmas everyone!
I hope you're all vastly enjoying family, friends, peace and quite and those rare wonderful moments of calm on days like today. I certainly am right now as everyone in my house is napping.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Safari Shepherd

Frugally Challenged over at Trundling through life has been sharing some of her many nativity sets with us this year. Each one is so beautiful and special in it's own right. We've had only one nativity set in this house over the years until last year when we added a second. Inspired by Frugally Challenged I've decided to share photos of our newest set and the Safari Shepherd.

Last year I found a very reasonably priced Little People set for little Abe. It came with everything imaginable except for a shepherd. It lights up. It plays Away in a Manger. It's adorable, but no shepherd. Last year I was slightly bothered by there being no shepherd but we let Joseph double as both dad and shepherd depending on the scene. If the "shepherds" were visiting the baby then Joseph happened to be out doing something like fetching fresh water for Mary to drink.

This year I looked online and found a separate set that includes a little hill with a well in it, a shepherd and more sheep. It's adorable but also over $20. That's pretty close to what I paid for the entire nativity set. Little Abe saw the photo of it online while I was looking at it and said that I must get it so that he could try and dump the shepherd down the well. Either way, to see if the shepherd would fit down the well or to have a shepherd to visit the baby I wasn't going to spend upwards of $20 for a nativity set shepherd.

Last year for Christmas my dad gave little Abe a Little People zoo set. The zoo keeper, or safari guide (it could easily be either) is now a shepherd stand in. I think it's lovely that he came to the stable equipped with binoculars. I'm certain he was able to spot the place, under the star where the new baby was sleeping from much farther off then the actual shepherds did. I'm not entirely sure how to explain the lizard on his hat but shepherds spend a great deal of time out of doors so I'm sure he's friends with all kinds of nature and creatures galore.

How many nativity sets do you have? I'd never thought of having more then one but I'm certainly going to be keeping a look out for extra special ones after having read Frugally Challenged's posts this year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Once upon a time cracked today

Once upon a time my friends and I rescued a drowning surfer during a horrible storm. The violent waves tried their hardest to pull us off the pier into the raging lake along with their most recent captive but we prevailed. The surfer survived and the Coast Guard gave us each an award and a mug.

I loved this mug. It made the most musical tinkling noise because of the ridges inside of it whenever I stirred sugar into tea or coffee. And the glass was tinted so that sometimes it was blue and sometimes it was purple, sometimes it looked solid and other times it was iridescent. I think I mostly loved it because of the memory.

Today I poured apparently too hot of water into it for my tea because it burst in half shooting a few shards of lovely blue glass in different directions around my kitchen and spraying hot water towards me (no burns; I jumped away really fast).

This incident pretty much perfectly explains the past few days here. I shall prevail but I'm feeling pretty dog gone defeated this month. Do you ever have those times when it seems like you're living in one of those disaster comedies where things just keep going wrong back to back to back?

My next post will be happy. I promise!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Photos

Anyone else spend virtually all of Sunday, FIVE days before Christmas backing up a year and a half's worth of photos onto discs? GAH! I feel like my brain is fried.

Our laptop recently started making a terrible noise when the fan really gets going. I'm fooling no one, the laptop is getting pretty old. I knew I'd better scramble to back up the photos just in case. (we'd rather have them on discs than in some cloud somewhere) Better safe than sorry! Even if I spent half my weekend completing the task.

I really enjoyed looking through all the photos though. TIME FLIES!!!

Oh yeah, if I suddenly disappear, then you can assume the worst of my computer. I think it's got some life left in it though.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Spending Update

It's been awhile since I've done a spending update. This month has been kicking my butt emotionally. Mostly inward stuff (my life is not going down the tubes or anything drastic and dramatic like that). And it's not due to too many holiday preparations and holiday stress. I've just been running on empty with emotional fire balls being thrown at me.

So, when emotional fire balls are flying through the air I tend to spend like some sort of natural disaster is about to occur, "quick, stock up! buy! buy! buy!" I think it's just a shut down of all self control due to using all of my energy to keep my feet moving and myself functioning (yes, I've dealt with depression on and off throughout my life and I can make things sound melodramatic but it's how I feel sometimes).

I'd planned a heavy dose of no spend days this month but that plan flew out the window at least a week ago. I also haven't been tallying up my spending. Now, when I miss a few days of tallying that is usually a very bad sign. Today I bit the bullet, sat down, and did the tally. Whew! It's not that bad. Apparently despite my somewhat of a shut down as of late there's still been enough unconscious resolve somewhere within me so that I've been keeping my spending pretty in check.

I've spent $254.35 this month, leaving $177.68 (plus a $43 cushion) to meet my goal for the year. We're pretty close to done on Christmas spending and we should only be needing food groceries for the rest of the month. This is doable.

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.12

Hoping to come in under $18 a day this year.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ah, Monday and Cookies

Today was totally one of those day, not just an average "blah it's Monday," but a little black rain cloud that I couldn't shake for anything Monday. The dog knocked over the Christmas tree and broke several ornaments. My little guy woke up with a cough and later in the day knocked his head (directly next to his eye) really hard on a corner. That was scary for me and painful for him. The same dog that knocked over the Christmas tree peed in the living room and then through the kitchen, basically all through the house. Dog pee is not the way I like to start the week (and it's not a normal occurrence here... I honestly think he was still rattled from the tree incident). I'm dealing with some heavy emotional nonsense as well. I guess these sort of things have to happen when one is at their peak of an emotional break down though, right.

I could list a million things that I wanted to get done today and a million things that I did not do. But one thing I did do was force myself to straighten up the kitchen so that we could do our first round of real Christmas baking. I needed it today and I was determined to make it happen.

Little Abe and I made our first batch of Christmas cookies for the year, Christmas press cookies. That's what my mom called them. I think they're called spritz cookies normally. He chose the Christmas tree mold, or shape and he helped me mix up the dough. The neat thing was that he also did the press, mostly himself. He was so proud and even though I snapped at him a few times when he kept telling me not to help and kept knocking the press over he had so much fun. You'd never know the little guy had a sort of rough day. He's happily watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the one with Jim Carrey). We've watched a TON of Christmas movies this year and this one is by far his favorite. A.) He has a serious love of animals and he adores the Grinch's dog, Max and B.) He has a very silly sense of humor that he got from his daddy and he thinks the movie is really fun and funny.

Okay, I got a little side tracked there. The cookies turned out great. I feel that I at least accomplished one thing today that I really wanted to do. My buddy is really happy and we've made yet another neat Christmas memory this year. And there may have been hot chocolate involved too.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Forty Five Minutes of Christmas, Week Two

Sunday 12/6
Little Abe and I made this year's Christmas cards. Now I just need to write, address, and mail them all.

Monday 12/7
Created a photo calendar for my Dad with all the family birthdays. These darn things take forever to make!

Tuesday 12/8
Wrote and mailed out Christmas cards.

Wednesday 12/9
Worked on my nephew's rag doll more.

Thursday 12/10
At least 45 minutes writing Christmas cards.
Finished sewing the little rag doll for my nephew.
I think it needs ears though.

Friday 12/11
Worked on my nieces quilt. This could be the end of me. I'm making a very small quilt, like baby doll quilt, and it's taking forever!

Saturday 12/12
Went to a fun Bethlehem village event at my brother's church. There were live animals, people dressed in costumes, fun food, and all kind of neat crafts for the little ones. I think my guy had lots of fun but he is really not a fan of coloring and most of the crafts involved coloring so he kept leaving the craft tables with naked trinkets.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tis the Christmas Season

Considering that I post almost everyday on this blog I've been slightly absent as of late. The Christmas season is upon us and I've been in full on Christmas mode. Not shopping so much but trying to accomplish little tasks with my Abe each day (some things get done every day and others we need catching up on here and there), sewing like crazy to get handmade gifts done for my nieces and nephews (I've determined that I'm very slow at sewing), working on Christmas cards (an activity that I delight in), watching Christmas movies with my family, attending Christmas events and thinking about baking and wrapping gifts. This wonderful season keeps me on my toes.

I'd decided that I was going to keep my Christmas postings this month to one weekly update on the 45 minutes a day permission slip that I'd written myself but I soon discovered that any post I'd even think about making this month would be a post about something Christmasy. Thus, the main reason for my blogging absence.

I'm going to toss my brilliant plan of only one Christmas update per week out the window. I like journaling about my life on this blog. I like looking back and seeing the fun stuff that I did with little Abe and come December what Christmas gifts I was working on. So it appears that December on this blog may be solely about Christmas. I just can't help myself.

Today I'd like to share this:

I received a package in the mail from a dear friend not too long ago with a lovely assortment of gifts for myself and little Abe. Now, patience is not a fruit that I have an abundance of and I was so unbelievably delighted at the sight of the gift that little Abe and I opened each little wrapped treat instantly. It was so much fun looking at each little item and oohing and ahhing. Surprise gifts are thee best. Honestly.

This was my favorite part; an adorable cross stitch for my little guy. Knowing that someone, a very kind someone, a friend took the time to make this for him. My heart swells. I personally don't know how much money goes into a gift like this. I can't imagine a whole lot. (although the postage!) But the time spent, the thought, the heart, this is a gift to be cherished and I LOVE it so much!!!

Merry Christmas Season everyone! Tis a wonderful time of the year.

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Guys

I just typed out a post and then thought, "nah..." So I leave you with a photo of these two buddies instead. It was the little black and white dude's eleventh birthday on Friday. My husband and I got him as a little puppy and we're so very blessed to have him as a part of our family!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Cards

Today was a planned no spend day but I ended up spending $14.07 on Christmas card supplies and I went way over my 45 minutes of Christmas. I'm very happy to report that this year's Christmas cards are about half way done and I'm pretty happy with how they've turned out.

I seriously was brainstorming for months what I wanted to do for the cards this year. Finally settling on an idea and seeing it come together is marvelous for me. Yay! I can't imagine anyone likes these silly cards I spend so much time on as much as I do but I hope they do spread some Christmas cheer around the globe. (Little Abe made quite the contribution this year as well)

I'll post a photo of our cards at a later date.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Super quick spending update

Yesterday was the third no spend of the month. I'm planning no spend day's tomorrow and Monday.

Today I bought groceries and some Christmas stuff leaving $337.16 in the budget this month.

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.13

Forty Five Minutes of Christmas, One week done

Last week when I was starting to feel overwhelmed by all the Christmas details I wrote myself a permission slip: I will spend 45 minutes a day on Christmas. Anything that doesn't get accomplished in the 45 minutes doesn't need to be done. Whatever gets accomplished during the 45 minutes of Christmas is perfection. Here's how this week went:
I dug out the lights (that are surprisingly almost 20 years old and are still all working) and hung them up around the dining room for the Christmas countdown bags. This took a surprisingly long time. I luckily had saved most of the bags from last year and they were in the bag with the lights (so I didn't have to re-do the numbering) except for bags 1-5 which I seem to remember little Abe ripping apart. I must have put something really neat in those ones last year. So I made new numbers and found bags for 1-5.

I wrote out all the scriptures for the countdown bags, the "giving" ideas for each bag, and filled and hung each bag. This was a very time consuming chore but the Christmas countdown bags are something I really look forward to and this tradition is really important to me. Last year I scrambled each night to fill the bag for the next morning. Sometimes I forgot and had to sneakily fill the bag before we opened it in the morning. It was added stress last Christmas for me to accomplish this fun new tradition while scrambling each day to remember to fill the bag. I'm very happy to have this Christmas season task now behind me. This was an approximately 45 minutes well spent!
A collection of little things. Probably not 45 minutes. Read some Christmas books with little Abe. Watched a few short Christmas videos on you tube with little Abe. Nice simple stuff today.

Started another Christmas present. Today I went over the 45 minutes. I spent about 2 hours sewing. I guess that makes up for a lighter day on Tuesday.
Sewing consumed another two hours of my week. Honestly, I like it. It's thrilling to see the end result. I pick fabrics as I go and I find myself being curious during the entire project about what I will end up with. My kiddo took a SUPER long nap so the two hours of quite alone time working on this Christmas present just flew by.

I worked on the little quilt some more and then I started another sewing project. My brother had a little rag doll when he was small that he loved. It's name was Green Jeans, had a green checkered shirt, green overalls, and a green hat. I thought I had a photo of it but, no. I've been wanting to recreate Green Jeans for my brother's son who is turning 2 tomorrow. (Jessica, Please DON'T tell James! I'd like him to be surprised.)

My brother actually hates green now (for sports team reasons) so I've started to recreate Green Jeans in colors that my brother loves (for sports team reasons). The fabric in this "Green Jeans" is from the little quilt I made for my nephew so he'll have a little doll to go with his quilt. I spent WAY longer than two hours on this. I didn't have a pattern and was trying to recreate this little guy from memory. I hope it at least reminds my brother of his little Green Jeans.  Wish me luck on the head because this could end up really cute or it could go terrible South, quickly.

Today has just begun. I'm feeling pretty motivated to get the quilt and Green Jeans done so I'll work on both of them more today, probably. We're also going to the Jingle Bell parade downtown this evening. So today will be filled with Christmasy things.

This week's forty five minutes of Christmas was a total success. I do feel like I need to get on top of the Christmas cards but I didn't have that sinking feeling I often have of needing to get 100 things accomplished all at once all day every day. I committed to spending 45 minutes a day on Christmas things and I did. Done. Plus, I'm pretty excited about the gifts I'm giving this year. I had all the fabric, stuffing, and thread I've needed thus far. So I haven't had to spend any money on materials for the gifts I'm making. I think I'm going to buy a fabric pen for Green Jean's face. I seem to remember the original Green Jeans having a drawn on face.

On top of the 45 minutes of activities listed above little Abe and I have been reading Christmas books, opening a countdown bag each morning, and doing a really neat interactive Advent Calendar online that a VERY kind friend sent to us. This has been a really great Christmas season already!

Thursday, December 3, 2015


The past two days were no spend days. Yay! I'm also planning a no spend day for tomorrow.

Today I rushed out of the house. I should have been better prepared. I should have woke up earlier. I was/ did neither and spent $3 on coffee this morning.

I purchased groceries for an even $25 and spent $15.50 on toiletries.
The toiletries category for the year is now exhausted and I'm left with only two spending categories: food groceries and Christmas.

Yesterday and the day before we ate mostly food that was on the brink of being too old, while satisfying in the sense that I'm proud to have not thrown those items in the trash the exercise made for a few very blah meals.

My goal spending for the month is $432 of which I have $388.50 remaining.

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.19

Now onto Christmas cards! I'm rather behind in the endevour as I've spent at least two months brainstorming what I'll do for the cards themselves this year. I think I've finally come up with an idea that I like but now it must be executed. I truly love sending Christmas cards, this is one ball that I refuse to see dropped over the wonderful holiday season thus I better get moving. (I'm a little jealous of Frugally Challenged who has just announced the job done on her end (although I applaud of all your hard work!))

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Say You're Sorry

We've all heard this a million times, right? You "accidentally" pushed someone on the play ground when you were a kid, "say you're sorry," comes flying out of your mother's mouth... Saying you are sorry and actually feeling sorry are two very different things but I think it's safe to say that the latter is highly encouraged, praised even, and an incredibly healthy part of life. Okay both are healthy, the saying it as well as feeling it.

I thought about my post yesterday, No Regrets, a lot today. One simple time, singular, who knows for what reason why time, I was shamed into feeling bad for having regrets and ever since then I've been trying my darnedest to regret nothing. In truth, I've also always been VERY bad at saying sorry. I am such a perfectionist that saying sorry is intensely painful to me. It means that I am a failure... No, it feels to me that I'm a failure.

Saying sorry does not mean that I'm a failure. It means that I messed up, made a bad decision, actually more times then not it means that I made a mistake. That's not me being a failure. That's me making a mistake. If you read yesterday's post then you see the same thing at play here, I'm a perfectionist. I should never make mistakes. Wait, perfection is unattainable. Being a perfectionist is like living inside a delicate beautiful bubble in a world covered in sharp pieces of broken glass. The bubble is going to pop, and pop often.

Now, back to regrets because I've been thinking about this all day. Saying I'm sorry, being sorry, feeling sorry is a good thing. We're supposed to feel bad when we've wronged someone. We're supposed to let the wronged individual know that we're remorseful (we're supposed to be remorseful). In fact the Bible talks about repentance all the way through. So why are we told that we're not supposed to be remorseful about bad decisions that we've made in life that led us down the wrong path? When we've done something that's hurtful to ourselves we're not supposed to be sorry? Is it because we're now stuck on that path (or feel stuck on that path) so we're to "have no regrets" and just embrace the new path?

My old way of thinking: have no regrets. If I've done something wrong, made a mistake, taken a wrong turn just go with it, shake off the feeling of remorse (or bury it at least/ ignore it/ pretend it's not there). Regrets are bad. Regrets are weak. Regrets are something to be ashamed of. Don't look back.

My new way of thinking (and what a tiny voice inside of me has been saying for a very long time): regrets are a normal part of life. If I've done something wrong, made a mistake, taken a wrong turn I need to acknowledge the failure (NOT that I'm a failure) and right the wrong or at least forgive myself for it. Regrets can be used constructively. You can't put back together a delicate bubble that's been popped by sharp pieces of broken glass but you can find a better way to travel through a land of shards and sometimes broken things can be glued back together if you don't try and sweep them under the rug (talking about all the metaphorical glass that I had laying all over everything in the perfectionist's world, not the bubble. I've never successfully glued a bubble back together.).


NO SPEND day number two for the month. So far so good.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Debt Quote Tuesday, No Regrets

Like all emotion, regret can be used constructively and destructively, but the wholesale dismissal of regret is wrongheaded and dangerous. "No regrets" doesn't mean living with courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life.
-Brene Brown, from Rising Strong

Are there any statements in your life that somehow solidified a place in your mind, like each of these simple statements have their very own shelf where they sit on display inside of your head?

My first ever moment of body shaming, that I can recall, that meant anything to me at all was when I was sitting in the front seat of my parent's car. I must have been wearing shorts or a skirt and my dad was sitting in the drivers seat when he said to me, "woah, your legs are hairy!" He may have said something like, "gross," or "you should shave." I could not have been older then ten. I've had very dark hair for most of my life but still I know that it was little girl peach fuzz type hair that I had on my legs at the time. There was NOTHING about the hair on my legs that I should have been embarrassed or ashamed of but I was mortified in that moment.

My dad is definitely an antagonist and I'm certain he must have made the comment in a mean joking way but that one comment has shaped my life. Actually, I hate to admit it but as long as I can remember I have been ashamed of my legs. There have been years worth of time when I've gone without wearing shorts or skirts shorter then ankle length and I wonder if that one comment that has stuck with me for so long has anything to do with it. It's not the comment itself that hurts but the intense feeling of shame and ugliness that overcame me when he said it.

There are things my mom has said to that always come back in certain moments. Not necessarily negative things just random little statements. The funny thing about some of my mom's comments, certain ones that have their very own shelf in my mind, I've repeated a few to her in the past several years and she's actually said, "I never said that." Then this absolute truth, truth enough to be solidified on it's very own shelf in my brain is suddenly null and void? Gee mom, thanks for randomly telling your young daughter something so important that you never actually meant!

A friend of mine once told me that he, "never regrets anything!" He's a pastor of a church now and while we're not close friends and I don't remember why he was so adamantly not regretting anything there was shame in his statement. Every single time I find myself feeling regretful I think of him having said that and I feel bad, like I need to do away with my moment of regret. For some reason his No Regrets comment has had a very prominent place on display in my mind for a long time.

Having just read the above quote I am filled with delight. I have tried for close to fifteen years to "have no regrets," but I completely agree with Brene Brown. Do you know that after losing our cat a little while back I started to feel regrets. I think regret is an emotion felt by almost every single person after a death. It's completely normal. But as I was feeling this horrible loss and thinking, "I wish I would have snuggled her more. I wish I would have spent more time with her. I wish I would have responded every single time she meowed," (she really only meowed when she was talking to one of us about something) I just tried to bury the regret, ignore it, push it away. I kept thinking that I needed to use that regret constructively to spend more time with my puppies or be a little more attentive to little Abe but then I was scared of the regret and felt shamed thinking, "oh she's gone now, I can't give her what I should have, how dare I feel that I should use this horrible feeling to love my dogs and son more." No, I should use it to do just that. "To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life."

Same exact thing goes for the financial situation we are in. I regret having used credit cards like toys before my husband and I were together and then with our "excellent" credit both of us having used credit cards like we were living some sort of monopoly game for several years when we were first married. I totally regret that. But I do not let that regret shame me. It is fuel. It is motivation. It is absolutely constructive in helping me to say "no!" to non-necessities and try my darnedest to follow the strict budgets I draw up.

No regrets? Nope, I have regrets and I am using them to fuel gorgeous blazing fires!

If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
Psalm 94:18-19