here.

Hi.

I’ve been a stranger.  Like. TOTALLY a stranger.  Like. WOAH WHERE DID YOU GO stranger.  And it’s not that I didn’t want to visit.  In fact, I would have been here more often if I could get Siri to write my posts for me while I am driving.  Because I write LOTS in my head then.  Like at LEAST a post a day.  And then somehow, I start to work or hit the gym or text or SOMETHING and then I forget.  But please note.  I totally feel guilty.

20130424-081502.jpg
So. I applied for graduation and as of today – this moment – I have 234 days until I am finished. (I have a countdown on my phone that have to talk myself out of checking because I obsessively want to look at it every day. And I totally can’t help myself and I look again.) Two classes this summer, and two classes this fall. Pray. This semester I have taken three classes – Chemistry, Macroeconomics and Business Communications. And it utterly kicked my ass – not all the time, but definitely in waves. And I think that I have learned a little more grace for myself and for other people. In college (like real college when i didn’t have two jobs, a social life, a mortgage, rent, car, insurance…you get the picture!), I never understood how people could forget something so simple as HOMEWORK. I mean, just WRITE IT DOWN for crying out loud. And then now – twice I have gone to two different professors and explained that I forgot homework. Just forgot. Not that I didn’t want to do it. Not that I couldn’t have found time (something that I have this crazy talent for). Just plain ole’ brain-fart forgot. Neither one of them would allow me to turn it in late. But hey, oh well.
20130424-081519.jpg

So I find myself planning EVERY second of every day Monday through Friday. To the nano second. When I get home at 8 or 9p, I usually have an hour’s worth of stuff to do (laundry, dishes, prepare food, get my bag together for the next day, try to remember how MANY pairs of shoes, panties, and workout outfits I will need for the next day). And it becomes my power hour. I cannot sit down, I cannot stop moving until everything including washing my face and brushing my teeth is done. If I do, I cannot get back up. But with this regimented schedule during the week, I find my weekends EXTRA carefree. I have always been a fairly free spirit when it comes to playing. If I have the gas in my car, I will go do it. And for the past 3 months, my weekends have been super fun. Boo moved to Atlanta in March, I’ve been to Denver, the beach, dinner, railroad park, Regions stadium, bars I haven’t been to in years, random nights where I stay out later than I am used to, on blind dates and have just been happy. My poor roomates have remarked that I have the strangest schedule. Truth.

20130424-081542.jpg

Speaking of roommates, I moved into a house in February with some really awesome girls. Super sweet, super easy, and they handle my weirdness well. Nothing like roommates to make you realize how not normal you are. Or is that just me? I love having the company – and the ease of good roommates. I can only hope they say the same thing about me! I try…

20130424-081555.jpg

I’ve made some new friends lately. They are my age, single, and love to sweat it up. And I am starting to feel like me again. It only took me 6 years to get back to this point. But I know the journey from 24 to 31 has made me into SUCH a better version of myself. Kinder. Softer. Hopefully a little more knowledgeable and definitely more forgiving.

20130424-081613.jpg

March 6th was the 2 year anniversary of my divorce – and I can truly attest that divorce has a half life. It was some time in the last few months that I just felt, well, NORMAL. Not damaged, not angry, not blaming others, just normal. Praise God from whom all blessing flows, because without His Mercies, I would be in a ditch. I went to a Capitavating conference in Denver in March and it reminded me (as I need reminding EVERY DAY) that only God can put my broken heart back together. There are STILL times – few. FAR BETWEEN. But times that I get overwhelmed with the feeling of how damaged I am which leads me down the path of no one will ever love me into I’ll be single for the rest of my life and right back to how irreparable damaged I am. And don’t get me wrong. This heart has been shattered by SEVERAL men in my life and it is ugly and black and lifeless on its own. But God promises to repair it. to make it whole. And He assures me that I am beautiful. That He DOES see me, that HE is and will be everything to me that I’ve seen fail in the past.

20130424-081631.jpg

I also turned 31 in March. Don’t worry, I still continue to tell people that I am 30. I think that is a mix of not feeling 31 and how crazy packed life has been. My sweet loves took me to the beach for what was the best Birthday in a long while. It was FREEZING cold. But we drank wine, played Maajong, shopped (of course I was the ONLY ONE who bought anything), slept, watched Downton Abby, jammed to good tunes, cooked, and laughed. It was SO good for my heart. And there was this ONE cheese plate – I can’t stop thinking about it! Best meats, best olive oil, best cheese, best nuts…I mean. To. Die. For. And we drank more red wine than most people drink in a year. Not really. Well, yes really. Whatever. It was good.

20130424-081719.jpg

I’m trying not obsess about next steps. Here I am about to get my degree. Finally. Something that has kind of held me back. But not really. But kind of. And all my jobs in the past have been to push the ceiling on how far I could go without a degree. Like, DUH I don’t need one. But now? What do I want to do? I’ve utterly downgraded my life. And I wish I could downgrade it even more! So I don’t NEED to make money like I used to (staying in a job just to pay bills for stuff I don’t want. What I want is out of that cycle!!) You know that question? What would you do if money was no object? Yeah, I don’t know the answer yet. It’s mulling in my brain. And it looks REALLY different than what I thought it would be. I had planned on going to nursing school. Full. Speed. Ahead. Not that I won’t do that – I am not scared of it – that I won’t be able to finish or I am not smart enough. But as I pray desperately for God to help me see my path, what I DO hear is “wait”. Like, just get through this ONE step. Get to December. Get through 234 days. Just that. So. That’s what I am doing. Pray for that? Pray that I can figure out next steps. Or that I would be able to wait. How ever you want to pray for me – I will take it!

So here I am, friends. Back.

20130424-081801.jpg

you is kind

Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life. – Joel Olsteen
 
Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity.  Successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something and soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results. – William Jam

I am SURE this is hard to believe, but I am really hard on myself.  Like, harder than I should be.  Like, tell myself things that I wouldn’t even utter to my worst enemy.

Like:

You aren’t good enough

You aren’t smart enough.

You aren’t pretty enough.

You are damaged goods, no one will love you.

So many people have already given up on you, don’t you think God has too?

And it’s not just every once in a while.  I find that it’s constant white noise in the background.  This incessant dogging of myself isn’t triggered by something specific!  It’s just THERE.  Whispering things to myself that I wouldn’t ever say to an enemy, because they are the types of things that you can’t get back.  You don’t forget someone calling you fat, no matter how SKINNY you get.  It’s always there, especially when you don’t eat perfect or your pants feel tight one day.  And the older I get, the WORSE it gets.  Especially when you start to focus on any and all failures in your life.

BUT.

THIS YEAR.

It Stops. For good.  Not just for today, not for a month.  But for the entire year.  I promise myself that I will not be negative.  And despite the fact I don’t always believe in it.  I will be nice to myself.  Polite.  Respectful, even!

Goal 3 – Turn All Negative Phrases into Positive

Lord knows I am going to fail more times than I succeed in this practice.  Positive ANYTHING has got to be better than Negative Nothing, right?  So as most things in life, this is just about a habit.  I don’t believe in what I am saying yet.  But for example,

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. – Wade Boggs

I REALLY want this year to be a positive year.  I want to achieve some very big things, and in order to do that, my attitude has to start that journey.  So I have been telling myself the following things daily:

  • You CAN do this.
  • You work hard every day – you look great!
  • Chemistry isn’t that hard and you ARE smart enough to do this.
  • Your backside is not too big – its just the way God made it.

These are just the top 4 things I hear myself say over and over.  And let’s be honest – I totally do not believe it.  Yet. But positive attitude fosters more positive attitudes.  So, where this isn’t a life-changing goal, it might just change my life.

 

27.40

I am a numbers girl.  You may not know that about me, but it’s one of my FAVORITE characteristics that I inherited from my Mimi.  She was SO smart with numbers – able to add like 15 up at a time with no pen and paper.  She was a wiz when it came to financials and she read the stocks page every day (still to this day, I have NO idea how she does that!  Sorry, did that.)  But no matter how good she was, I am thankful that I got a little piece of that part of her brain.

I was texting with a friend a few days about about a VERY familiar subject of mine – being broke.  I said, “If I JUST had $10,000 I feel like my life would change.  Not $100,000, not $1M.  Just $10,000.”

That’s it.

That’s my dollar amount that if I JUST had $10,000, my life would be able to change course.  I could pay off my car, I could end my credit card debt (which isn’t much…but still there!), I could stop teaching ALL the time for money and choose to teach which classes I want.  And most of all, I would feel comfortable.  I would have savings, and options.  And in saying that, the fervent prayer and mantra for the past few months came FLYING into my head “What are my goals for 2013”.  Really God – this is going to be one of those ones that is hard to swallow right?  And here it is.

Goal 2 in 2013 – Save $10,000 in the bank account (completed by Dec 31, 2013)

So.  That’s a big goal.  That is a big lofty goal that I am going to have to sacrifice to make happen.  And yet, I continue to make life changes towards this goal without specific plans (renting my house out, downgrading certain “necessities”, etc.).  This is a goal that is going to stretch me mentally.  But let’s be honest.  I have a home.  I have plenty of clothes and Lululemon and tennis shoes and heels and Tervis Tumblers.  I have a car that is in great shape as long as I maintain it.  I have all the earrings and bracelets and makeup that I could really need.  And deodorant  I mean, I am STOCKED UP on deo.

Obviously I am not writing this down so you can borrow money from me.  Or know my finances.  But know THIS.  This is going to mean no big bar bills or eating out every weekend (I budgeted for like 4x a month).  This means I will have to say no to somethings due to money.  This is going to be a complete lifestyle change from the way I have been living for 5+ years.  I unsubscribed from EVERY shopping email I get.  I cancelled BirchBox and my fitness “monthly” expense.  I have resolved that I will not order supplements for performance other than food.  I will have to be content with the clothing that I have (umm.  plenty) and how I look in it.  And I am SO going to be ok.

But guess what kids – this chick is like freaky AWESOME at finding deals.  I have 5 “free” movie tickets to the Edge.  I have a $15 GC to Max’s and a $50 to my favorite Mexican restaurant for starters.  My birthday is coming up March 4th, and instead of asking for something that i just WANT, I will be asking for what I need at that point (probably money for books for the summer semester!  or tires.  Ugg.  always tires.)

So.  Here are CLEAR ways to achieve this goal.

1) Cash basis.  I budgeted out bi-weekly for gas and groceries with a tiny entertainment budget.  Anything I don’t use from one week will roll into the other, but if I don’t have the cash, I won’t CANT DON’T spend it.  The end.

2) NO shopping until the first quarter is over, which is March 26th.  At this time, I will re-evaluate if I have a) hit $2,500 and b) how the rest of my finances will look.  This is mostly about habits.  I generally wear the same thing for weeks on end (outside of work) and no one really cares are work.  Also, I have two additional closets of my sister and dear friend if something really does come up that I don’t have the correct clothing for.

3) Direct Deposit into a savings account that is not readily available or easy to access.  See, things these days are SUPER easy.  I opened up an account at another financial institution and then each pay period, it will just directly deposit it into the savings account.  I opted for NO WEB ACCESS so I just can’t see it.  I’m just going to pretend I got a huge pay cut.  Seems feasible, right?

4) Couponing/deals for the grocery.  Buying what is on sale, not letting it go bad and really paying attention to the grocery budget on a bi-weekly basis.

5) Selling my car.  This is a 50/50 shot.  It has been listed on AutoTrader for 5 months, I have shown it to 6 different families and it has not sold.  I feel I need to stay firm on the price so that I am able to purchase something STURDY with cash.  This is more of a praying for God to move on this type of thing.  And like my friend always says, you only need ONE person to buy it.  And I do believe that someone will.  In selling my car, this will give me a little wiggle room for paying off things while still achieving my goal.

It’s just $27.40 a day.  How about that.  

What is your big 2013 goal?

make it yours.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing goals with you and will WELCOME comments and encouragement!  I am attending a Goal Workshop tomorrow night, and I hope that it will spur me on to really thinking about what I fully want.  Not what my parents think I should have, not what my friends are doing, not what my peers judge me into doing.  What Ruth Wants To Do.

Over the last few months, I really have been rolling that around in my head – what is it that I really want to DO with my life.  In my early 20’s, it was to get married and show people that I didn’t have to have a degree to get anywhere.  I was SO adamant about that point.  SO!  And I still think it is crazy for something jobs to discount experience for time spent in college.  After all, I technically spent 4 years and PLENTY of credit hours.  But in this world, I can’t force people to think the way I do.  So, I am caving and getting a degree….10 years after the first time I started.  10.  Full.  Years.

GOAL 1 in 2013 (to be completed by December, 2013)

Graduate college at UAB with a Marketing Degree.

That means I have to take eight classes in 2013.

That means this spring, I am taking three classes.

That means this summer, I need to take two or three classes (depending on what is available)

And that means hopefully just two in the Fall of 2013.

And while that sounds like a lot to most people, to me, I just have to stay focused.  I’m Broke As A Joke, so travelling doesn’t hasn’t been an option.  And I have spent the last 10 years being (relatively) footloose and fancy-free.  I’ve had worse.  So what is one really tough, busy, mentally hard year.  I will tell you what – it seems like NOTHING compared to the emotionally hard years of 2008-2010.  Mental strength, I can find.

 

This goal is a perfect example of falling down 7 times.  I really haven’t EVER been public about this – if you point-blank ask me, I would tell you.  But I certainly don’t even like to tell people this piece of information.  It automatically prompts two responses: I thought you had one or Why didn’t  you finish?  The first statement making me feel inadequate about lack of education albeit PLENTY of hardcore experience.  The second question is just never fun to answer…but it usually goes like this:  I was supposed to graduate a semester early as I came into college with 14 credit hours (a full semester) based on my High School education.  I wanted to take off a semester and work or do SOMETHING other than school because I was freaking out about being 21 and having to get a full time job.  At the time, I was fully advised (told straight-up) just to finish school and get it over with.  And in one of my better bits of rebellion, just decided to fail school instead.  Go ahead.  Just read that again.  To be honest, I don’t really know if it was a conscious decision or one I just let happen, but  I received a 68 in a class that I had to have a 70 to graduate.  The best part?  If I had just attended class, if I had JUST SHOWED UP to class, I would have graduated.  My sorry a$$ decided that I didn’t want to.  So I tried talking to three teachers and no one would help me (I don’t know that I would have either).  It is one of a HANDFUL of regrets that I have.  Not one that I focus and morn every day, but one single event that if I could go back and change I would.  But let’s be honest….would I go back to being 21?  Uhhh, NO.  I can’t think of a worser time to go back to!  I happen to like 30, and graduating college NOW is going to mean something that graduating then NEVER would have.

So.  Here on my 8th time getting up, let’s graduate college, shall we?

musics

I have the CRAZIEST taste in music.  I mean, I realize it DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.  But there are three songs that I cannot get enough of.  Like its hard to breathe without hearing them once a day.  Yup.  I understand that is totally dramatic.  But its how I feel.

I was always that kid in college that listened to REALLY strange music – including “techno” (which is what my friend deemed anything with a synth’ed beat and didn’t have words.  ANY. THING.)

So one of my favorites Deadmau5 dropped a new album last week.  And it REALLY is sick.  And I love this song…

BUT THIS – This Mumford & Sons song.  I just want someone to sing something like this to me with SUCH passion.  I defs wasn’t on the first wave of people lovin’ them.  But for sure someone else needs to hear this!

But love the one you hold/ And I’ll be your goal /To have and to hold /A lover of the light

And then there is the dancing music I need.  My girl P!nk dropped something insanely good, and while this is the ONLY song on the album that she didn’t write, somehow I keep playing it over and over…

Where there is desire There is gonna be a flame

Where there is a flame Someone’s bound to get burned

But just because it burns Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die

You’ve gotta get up and try try try

Gotta get up and try try try

You gotta get up and try try try

And this one is just a bonus.  No words, no nothing.  Just a great driving beat that makes me want to drive my car FASTER and jump around and never stop moving…

What are your tunes this fall?

picket fences

SO.  Lots of stuff “unresolved” on this blog and I KNOW you have been DYING to know what is going on!

Well.  I could NOT sell my house.  It was totally underwater, and I cannot apply for refinancing for an entire year.  Blah blah blah…its a buyer’s market, etc.  Dude.  TRUST ME I am tired of my own voice!  One thing that has just been NAGGING me is to be faithful in the small things.  Fiscally responsible.  Do my quiet time.  Be kind and work out issues internally instead of in someone’s face.  You know.  The basic small things 😉

So.  TOTALLY new concept for me – taking things one step at a time.  Like WAY new step for me.  But I want you to notice that NONE of these things happened on my own.  Team.  Others.  Relying on OTHERS.

1) I called someone to rent my house for me.  Boom.  Rented within two weeks.  He walked me through steps and totally set me at ease.  You need help?  Call Lee.

2) The place I was planning to move to fell through (like had planned to live since January).  Par for the course. So here I was- three weeks out and could NOT find a place to live.  Like NOT AT ALL.  The whole reason I am renting my place is so I can pay down the mortgage, and finish my degree (with 6ish classes left.)  I couldn’t bear to live in Pinson, Pelham, Alabaster….etc.  My life is pretty centered Over the Mountain, and downtown.  The point was to save MONEY.  Then I get backed into a corner with 1 weeks to go.  And then my guardian angel Heather posted on Facebook that I am looking for a roommate (Brookhills Small Group Leader page…)  Within the hour, someone calls me.  I see the house that Saturday, pay rent for two months and moved in last week.  TEAM WORK.

3) School – something I can’t seem to wrap my head around.  You see, I don’t have a degree.  Wow.  First really public admission.  I had never failed anything in my life (at that point), and I failed college.  {Oh sweet, young, 21-year-old Ruth, how you would REALLY learn failure later on.}  But I have this big desire to become a nurse.  And see, you actually HAVE to go to school to become a nurse.  So.  I head to UAB to meet with an advisor less than one week before classes start.  And even though the deadline to enroll has passed, he encouraged me to walk to the first floor and see if they would work me in.  And EVEN THOUGH, the sweet woman on the first floor thought it was too late, she would make a phone call.  The voice on the other end of the phone call says, “Let her go to school.” So.  All of a sudden, I’m enrolled in school.  And it turns out I only have 6-7 classes to grab a Marketing Degree.  And heavens don’t I WISH I could just do it in one semester.  or two.  But it will probably be 3 semesters, maybe 4.  So again, without the stress of a house and high bills, I actually can take SCHOOL.  TEAM WORK.  and Go Blazers.

OH.  And I got a promotion at work.  PLT, right?  It almost makes the misery of the last 6 months worth it.  Almost. But that is a story for another day.  But there is NOTHING better than having a boss that says, I have your back.  AND one who is thankful for even the small things you do.  OH!  And my new boss knows I am smart.  It’s the little things.

(that me doing a victory dance)

Moral of the story?  It’s amazing how much more you can accomplish with HELP. Why is it taking me 30 years to be ok with that?

REAL ESTATES

So.  Having this problem with selling my house.  And I start to understand a little bit about these stories about people just dropping off the keys and NEVER making another payment, regardless of how much it affects their credit (because let’s just be honest.  I don’t know too many people with good credit any more.  Or I should say I know more people with bad credit than steller credit!)

 

So back in 2008, the ex and I bought a house.  It is DARLING.  I mean, I really really really love my house.  Its got beautiful windows, original hardwoods, a mudroom where I can do my laundry and it was JUST the right size for a starter house.  Three bedrooms and one bathroom = 1200 square feet.  And I am sorry, more room just means you buy more stuff to fill it up and its more surface area to dust.  Gag.  Dusting.   I LOVE the fact that it is a corner lot, so I have two neighbors.  A dentist who splits his time between this house and his real house in Mountain Brook, Al and a older lady behind me who is on disability.   And my house is in front of a stop sign, which means that (under normal circumstances) people drive fairly slow on the road.  Which is just excellent.  It is an easy yard to take care of (mowing the yard, etc) and the grass I feel like, grows EXTRA green there.  It’s just a pretty house!

Well, so in 2011, amidst ALL THINGS related to my car crash, we became no longer married.  Part of the deal is that the house becomes mine but the loan from the bank still has both of our names on it.  So over the course of a year I have applied for refinancing, I have looked into “government assistance” programs, I have contemplated a “short sell” and at the very last option, looked into selling my house.

So me.  30 year old me with a decent job and never having missed a payment on her mortgage.  I KNOW I shouldn’t qualify for really any programs because I pay my bills!  And I have a job!  And I DON’T REALLY NEED Government Assistance (that word tastes nasty to me).  BUT turns out if you just STOP paying your mortgage, its the only way to actually get “attention” and be able to opt-in to ALL these plans that Dear Sweet Mr. President has helped create to stimulate the economy.

So here is the kicker.  I have been dropped by 2 real estate agents.  HA!  My house, that I love so much, is what you call under water at this point in the economy.  And all we really did was purchase a house before the bottom dropped out.  It wasn’t a BAD purchase!  It wasn’t expensive in the first place!  And I swear, I wish Banks (or Wells Fargo, who I hate with a FIREY passion) would just listen to Lawyer Documents (apparently they don’t) so I wouldn’t even have to MESS with this.  But the Real Estate Agents both want to list it SO LOW that I would have to come to the table with $50,000.  Literally.  $50,000.  In Cash.  One of the agents said, well that shouldn’t be a problem, you are from Mountain Brook so your parents will pay for that, right?  Ummmm…no.

So I asked them to list it higher, because I believe that if this is what God wants me to do (and trust me, I’ve been praying left and RIGHT for almost 2 years) that he will sell the house for more than a Real Estate Agent believes it will sell for.   And response is?  I am “not interested” in listing it for higher.   Well I am not interested in being classy today either, but I will for both our sakes, yes?

So let’s go ahead and just be clear on all that you read above.  A woman who has a good paying job, a good car, a great life ,CANNOT, as in UNABLE TO,  sell her house.  Now, ALL OF A SUDDEN, I cannot help but think about a widow who was just left with a house, or a single mother whose income is cut in half.  Or even someone less fortunate than me with less support and less education!     And it certainly does make you feel more sympathy for those who torch their own houses for the insurance money, or like I said.  Just walk away from the  debt.

So let’s all have faith and PRAY that God would be clear about where this house should go!  How about that, friends.  God is bigger than the real estate market.  This I am sure of.