Door to Door Donut Sales

From a child's perspective

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It was late Friday afternoon. The time had come for my sisters and I to grab our pads of paper and go door to door.

 

Kids everywhere have different ways of making money. In my childhood home, cash flow was scarce; if us kids wanted to earn money, we had to get out of the house and work for it in some sort of way.

There were a couple of jobs we could do for a dollar or two from my parents, but they didn’t dish out regular allowances to their 12 kids.

Makes sense. That could really add up. And they didn’t have a lot of extra cash lying around.

There were multiple things I remember doing during my childhood that helped rake in spending and saving money.

One particular money making venture comes to mind and consisted of selling donuts.

My eldest sister was usually the fearless one to head up sales ideas. The funny thing is, she rarely showed her face to our “customers” when it came to door to door selling, but she was the supportive, behind the scenes boss.

We lived in a low-middle class neighborhood, and in the 80’s to early 90’s Crestview Drive residents had a good amount of camaraderie.

The neighbor kids would visit our house and if they were lucky, my eldest sister Becky would fry up donuts and share them with the lot of us. They made an impression on the kids’ mind, and the donuts started getting a positive reputation.

Becky came up with the idea that maybe we should get the donuts OUT the door and into other peoples’ homes.

 

So we planned our first sales run:

 

We’d walk around the whole neighborhood late Friday afternoon with our notepads and take orders for delivery of hot donuts for the following Saturday morning at the time of the customer’s choice.

We thought “Hot and fresh donuts delivered to your door on Saturday morning” may be right up the neighbors’ alley.

And it was!

We made homemade order form slips and went from door to door, offering 3 varieties of donuts and selling them by the half dozen and up.
Our customers picked what time of the morning they wanted their donuts delivered, we put their names, address, donuts variety/amount, and time of delivery on our order forms and kept moving from street to street.

It was scary though.

I hated walking up to the doors on the 3rd,  4th  and 5th  block over from our house to people’s homes who knew nothing about who we were. Somehow, going two by two, and with my sister Becky’s voice in the back of my head pushing us to face our fears for the sake of profit and that we were offering something to people that they might totally be thrilled with kept my siblings and I on the move.

After an hour or two of wandering our neighborhood streets, we brought the filled out order forms home to see how we had made out.

We had a pretty good turnout for our first sales run!

Becky totaled up the dozens ordered, and it was somewhere in the ballpark of 30 dozen! She figured in all of the supplies we’d need: Oil, donut ingredients, plates and wrap for delivery, etc.

We then headed to the store which was right up the road from us and bought what we needed.

We waited with excitement and nervousness for the early morning deliveries.

We decided to split up into 2 delivery groups and return as quickly as possible to get our fresh plate for the next customer in line.

Saturday morning arrived, Becky was at the fryer, we pulled out our order forms and she fried up the donuts for the earliest orders. We dipped them in the glaze or sprinkled them with sugar, and plate by plate we wrapped them up and headed out on foot as fast as we could without dropping any.

 

Becky wanted to make it extra special, so every dozen that a customer ordered would be a baker’s dozen. 13 donuts ended up on every plate with a little paper in between two layers of wrap that we wrote in our best handwriting possible, “Baker’s Dozen”.

We showed up at the “customer’s” door, knocked, and they sleepily opened the door; their eyes lit up as the smell of the fresh donuts wafted inside. They shuffled around for their money and we pocketed it, thanked them for their order and tore back to the house as fast as we could to pick up the next plate.

One customer sticks out in my mind. It was the Friday of taking orders and we walked up to their well manicured yard (vastly different from our own).

Becky’s orders were that we couldn’t skip any house unless we knew they didn’t want us there, or we had some other specific reason that it wasn’t a good idea to stroll up unawares. (There were a couple of houses we came up with some childish, but possibly very good excuse that caused us to refrain from walking up to the door.)

 

Regardless of our possible ragamuffin appearance (I imagine I DID brush my hair and put on shoes for this occasion though), we strolled timidly up to the  “Greenes’ Residence” and knocked on the door.

We hear a couple of barks coming from inside. We wait. And just when we are about to turn and rush away, the door opens and one of the kindliest elderly faces I’ve ever seen peers out and greets us warmly.

She hushed the dogs, and I give our childish sales pitch. “Hello, my name is Leilani and I live one block over. My sisters and I are selling donuts and we wondered if you’d like to have fresh, hot donuts delivered to your door tomorrow morning at the time of your choice?”

 

“Oh my! That sounds divine. What kind do you have?”

“Glazed, sugar, or cinnamon/sugar”

“Hmmm, do you sell plain ones?”

“Uh, yes, we could do that.”

“Okay, I’d like 2 dozen plain donuts, and 1 dozen glazed.”

Wow! We scored. We didn’t expect 3 dozen from an elderly couple, but this was awesome; and Mrs. Greene was so kind and sweet that I couldn’t wait to deliver her the donuts the following morning.
I didn’t understand the desire for plain, or the desire for so many, but whatever the customer wants, the customer gets.

We showed up the following morning at 8am with 3 dozen donuts, and Mr. and Mrs. Greene informed us that “Bosco” and “Daisy” were very, very excited about breakfast.
Ohhh, so the plain donuts were for their dogs.

Interesting.

They paid us, and with a generous tip we went on our way. They said to come back whenever we planned on selling again.

You can’t go wrong there. That’s a way to boost a child’s confidence and make them think that they may actually like door to door sales after all.

These were the experiences that kept us going despite the not so enjoyable moments- You know, the ones where we’d get a grumpy, blank stare and then a definitive ‘no’ and a slammed door from a customer. Or the time where the lady with a shrill voice said, “Don’t you pay attention to signs?” and with her long finger pointed at the “No soliciting” sign on her porch wall.

I always wondered what “soliciting” meant.  My 9 yr. old self finally figured it out.

Back to our Saturday morning donut run.

It was about 10:30am, and we made our last delivery. We gathered all the cash together and counted out the total. After paying Becky back for the ingredients, we ended up with about $30 profit.

It may seem like chump change, but to us, it was more than worth the efforts and we were pretty excited.
After counting the costs, and if I remember correctly, we made about $1 profit on each dozen that were sold. At a selling price of $2 a dozen, we were pretty happy with the profit margins. (I mean, c’mon, food profit margins are generally pretty low-50% profit was a good number for us.)

We did these sales runs a few times every year for a few years.

A year or two after our first sales run we raised our prices to $3 a dozen.

It’s experiences like these that give me an appreciation for the childhood that was given to me.  How my parents gave us the freedom and the independence to do this entirely on our own. Not a penny from them, only a nod from their heads and a grin from their faces.

It gave me a sense of responsibility and the feeling that what I did had value and actually mattered.

How Deep Will You Dive? (Into a dumpster)

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  It was 6pm on a week night, and my parents and some of us kids were in town doing errands. The age old Winn-Dixie was being demolished and there was a dumpster in the parking lot chock full of  construction debris. It caught my mom’s eye and she says to my dad, “Stan, drive past that dumpster, I want to take a closer look.”

 

My dad was rarely in a hurry and was quite obliging to my mom. (Most of the time.) He turned into the parking lot and we drive up to the dumpster. I start slumping down lower in my seat. Oh, no. What’s next? At a closer look you could see that the dumpster was chock full of BRICKS from the demolished Winn-Dixie.

Just as my mom had hoped.

We found ourselves in these kind of scenarios because my parents raised 12 kids on my dad’s low-moderate income and they were of the frugal type. Dad was pretty calculated and was darn good at spreading small amounts of money to go far. My parents never had a car payment, credit card debt was unheard of, and dad paid off the home mortgage by the time he was 40 yrs. old. All while raising a bunch of us! This wasn’t easy. He and mom gave up a lot of first world comforts and truly embraced frugal living. Because of their dedicated efforts to financial freedom, big purchases were rare, and small purchases were always in a state of consideration.

 

They had purchased a home and it lacked having a concrete driveway; something that my mom was definitely wanting, but after purchasing the home and fixing the interior, cash funds were low……

 

Back to the Winn Dixie parking lot What was to happen next was that every one of those bricks were going to be put in our family vehicle (ahem, a small, 1975 Chevrolet school bus) because instead of putting aside money for a paved drive, we’d just turn those bricks into a no cost driveway! Dad drove  the younger ones home, took out the back seats of the bus, called the capable hands to helm and we headed back to the dumpster. After a couple of trips we had every bit of brick lying in a huge pile at the end of our driveway.

 

There’s a vague memory of talking to a fellow at the dump for permission to take the bricks and he gave us the go ahead, but in my humble opinion I’m pretty sure he was just a mutual dumpster diver.

 

Now, you may think the hard work is over and we really scored with having hundreds of free bricks on our hands, but when we got closer to the bricks we  noticed that almost every single one of them were heavily laden with mortar and there was much work to be done before we could even begin to level out the ground and start laying them down.

 

The next day I had a chisel in hand (as I was among the kids that were too old to play inside and too young to have a job elsewhere). For 2 days straight my mom managed all available Claerbout kids and we chiseled off every bit of mortar.

In short, my mom got a driveway; not a concrete one, but a brick one. It was crazy. I actually kind of loved it. The whole thing. I mean I hated it, too, but that’s how insane ideas and projects are, ya know?

 

Money was not on our side, but time was. (And yes, maybe some child labor.)

 

A couple of things that I find interesting about this story:

1. It was my personal experience, so it’s just interesting to me

2. My family is kind of weird

3. My parents were determined to  put up with a butt load of inconvenience and “stupidity” for that driveway and they got it

 

(If I remember correctly, the brick drive was not done too professionally (go figure); after a couple of years, we ended up with a concrete driveway and sidewalk. Once again we moved all those bricks. To our backyard. And made a brick patio. And last I visited my parent’s house I noticed it has held up these past 20 yrs.)

Girl! You’ve GOT to Wear Your Sunday Shoes…..

August 2010August 2010August 2010

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Growing up in a large family, the memories of everyone getting ready to go someplace are very, well, memorable.

My mom, a wonderful mother of 12 kids was laid back and fun. Organization and time management were NOT on her top 5 most important things.  However, she did have some very specific wishes and rules. One of them being that on Sunday we must always wear “Sunday” socks and shoes.

Back in the day (you know, the 80’s), there was still a cultural expectation to dress your best when going to church. Now, unless you’re traditional and/or a formal church goer, it seems that dressing up is mostly optional.

Our family’s clothes budget was pretty tight so the reality of “prettying” up all 12 of us on Sunday morning to attend church was kind of hilarious.

Even though our family was kind of weird and non-cultural, ie; homeschooling in the 80’s, having 12 kids, and at one point our family vehicle was a 1958 school bus, etc., we sometimes would actually try to fit in. Go figure.

Yes, there’s the family vehicle… that I would drive to the store when I was 16 yrs. old. I got looks alright. Not the kind I had hoped for.

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Go ahead and visualize a TON of people living in a home that was no larger than 1300 sq. ft and flying around trying to get ready for church…..

Early Sunday morning rolls around and the exuberant voice of mom is waking up all of us sleeping children.  As I slowly open my eyes and attempt  to get Ginger’s, Rachel’s, Jasmine’s and Michelle’s extremities off of my face and body (okay, I didn’t actually share a bed with all of them…or wait, did I?) I roll out of bed, only to step on Jesse and Luke’s matchbox car collection that of course wasn’t put away the night before.

We all head to the dining area and instead of making Sunday morning breakfast a really simple fare, we delve into a hot, syrupy, homemade breakfast of flap jacks and eggs. Mom and Becky (the eldest) must’ve worked on that.

Sitting at our looooong  table together usually consisted of chatter and laughter and many a flying utensil. After talking, eating heartily and  having a couple of milk spills from the toddlers, we realize that “Oh my! We have to leave to go to church soon!”

As if that was a totally new concept.

Family meal clean up took place. We all fit tightly into our galley kitchen, bumping elbows, talking about something that had happened the night before, while Mom and the toddlers are going back and forth through the kitchen to the laundry area trying to find 1,000 articles of misplaced clothing, I get a little irritated because Becky keeps bringing more dishes from the table for me to wash and I thought we were just about done.

Food put away, dishes finished, counters wiped, floor probably not swept, we all rush back to our bedrooms to find some sort of “fancy” clothes to wear.

You’d think this was the sort of thing you’d plan ahead for. You know, having clothes set out neatly the night before. Um, no. NSM.

After I put on a dress I looked around and could only find one of my shoes so I head to the back yard to see if I left it outside the day before. Yup, there it was.

Slip them on, brush my hair that seemed to feel a bit sticky, clean my teeth with a toothbrush that was probably used by 3 others already,  and bam! I’m ready to go.

“Leilani, you have to find your Sunday shoes! And those socks! No, no, go get your Sunday socks”, says Mom.

Like really? As if my attire was even worthy of better shoes. And what on earth were “Sunday” shoes and socks? Well, my mom had dubbed the socks that had that little ruffle along the folded edge and those plastic-like mary jane style shoes that were shiny black or white to be “Sunday” socks and shoes and they must be found and worn. They made all the difference.

As I search the toy box, the sock box (the box that we threw all unmatched socks in. It was a big one), bathroom closet, the laundry room and under the couch,  I hear Jesse, my brother,  having some sort of temper tantrum; which isn’t unusual for him.  My parents are dealing with him while Cosette is still in the shower and Becky is burning her bangs with the curling iron.

Some of the kids aren’t taking this whole “get ready to go to church” thing very seriously. You’ve got the oldest 4 that realize they must get ready to go. The middle 4 seem to feel it’s time to ride a bicycle or play house, and then you have the youngest ones who are pooping in diapers and bauling because they have to get their nose wiped or whatever.

All of a sudden I hear my mom’s voice ringing loud and clear from her bedroom  ” I CAN’T FIND MY SKIRT!” Why would we know where HER skirt is?

Oh, maybe it’s that one I gave away because it was lying next to the giveaway clothes bag, or possibly Krista used it as a tent covering when she was building her fort yesterday, or was it Becky who took it from the clean pile of laundry because she thought it was the dirty pile of laundry and  rewashed it? (Poor mom. We were always messing with her belongings.)

*Finally!* I found my missing Sunday socks and shoes!!

I slip on those beauties, my mom decided to wear something other than her long lost skirt, Cosette is put together like usual, Becky’s bangs looked horrid, Michelle was fairly up to par, and somehow all the younger ones were dressed  and in their Sunday best and Dad was patiently waiting for us all in the family vehicle…. probably listening to the “oldies” (how un-spiritual of him).

If you were to be the last one out the door you’d take a backward glance into the house and think “Oh my word. What happened in this place?”

Well, we’d clean that all up when we returned from church. And we better do it quickly because the Smiths or the Peines or the pastor’s family would be coming over for lunch.

With all 12 of us we could make a mess like nobody else, but we could clean it up in a jiffy, so mom was never too concerned about the tornado like appearance.

 

Those days were special. And so are my mom and dad.

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6 Tips for Brightening Up the SAHM Life

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Do you ever feel that your SAHM (stay at home mom) life lacks some luster?

A stay-at-home mom can easily feel stuck doing the same thing day in and day out, your creativity levels seem low, and when you have  little kids and are limited in your ventures, you can start to feel like your abilities and options are zero to none.

That’s not true, but our vocation is a simple seeming one and generally we don’t have a boss or any competition breathing down our backs to get moving with new projects or checking in on how our progress is, etc. (Sure, now and then we’ve got a spouse who may insert a thought or two. That’s good, btw.)

You have to learn how to be content in your field and simultaneously push yourself in ways to stay purposeful and excited about your “stay at homeliness” .

In case you didn’t already guess I’d feel this way>> I think that if you’ve chosen to stay at home to raise those little kiddos….you’re doing AWESOME!

Think of a couple of reasons why you stay home and do what you do

For me:

1. I’m a Mother-Definition: To bring up a child with care and affection

2. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity-I’m taking those first 18 years and, yes, maximizing on the opportunity.

3. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8)
Hey, Solomon is telling that kiddo to pay heed to their mama, I better be there giving them something to learn about.

4. I seriously love being with my kiddos. Not because I or they are perfect, but this role of motherhood is something I cherish and am grateful for.

Anyways, the list could go on, but we’re just making a quick point that we love our job for multiple reasons, so now we can get on to how we can add some color to it this week.

Think of one or two things to incorporate into your home life that isn’t there, currently.

Here are a few that pop up into my mind:

1. Be creative and try a new DIY. No, not just pin it, DO it. In case you didn’t ever see my  attempt at a DIY, take a look here: Checkerboard Table

2. Teach your kids something aside from the regular routine. Depending on the ages of your kids the options will vary, but any age child can learn something new. This past week I picked something quite simple and decided to teach 4 of my kids how to iron. It took about an hour  for me to stay focused on the safety and basic guidelines of ironing. A couple of them really took off with it and have continued to work on it this week.

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3. Pick an area in your house to organize. This week I chose a master bedroom closet.( P.S. Throw out a few lot of things.)

4. Work outside in the yard; weed, organize stuff, etc. Okay, you northern folks don’t have that option. Sorry.

5. Try out a new recipe. This week I made ghee and some healthy energy bars. They were awesome.

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Check out  NotCrazyHealthy on Instagram for some healthy good stuff! Here’s her recipe for the above bars Energy Bars Recipe    Sea Salt Caramel Recipe

6. Put some fitness into your routine. If you’re like me, a membership at a gym and going multiple times a week is NOT conducive to my current schedule/lifestyle, so I find ways that I can make it happen without having to leave. There are all sorts of options, and though I don’t always stay perfectly consistent, the times that I do it really helps boost my emotions and give me a sense of motivation in other areas as well.

 

One thing I love about our  SAHM vocation is that each and every one of us have distinct and individual experiences and circumstances.  Your days will look different than mine. Our projects and interests will vary.  I hope we all remember not to look at someone else’s scenario and feel we should copy them. Be inspired by one another, but be YOU.

It’s healthy to stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zone, but not for the sake of living up to someone else’s expectation. Personal growth, purpose, and taking action on training our kids are healthy reasons for doing new things.

This week I hope that you can take a fresh look at your awesome vocation and have fun with it!

Is there something you’ve taken on recently that may inspire some of us here? Or maybe you’ve been mulling around an idea in your head. What is it? Don’t hoard your thoughts, share them!

Here’s to getting out of our pajamas,
Leilani

 

 

 

A Short Series of Unfortunate Events

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How was your week?

For me it was a week peppered with inconveniences and out of the blue surprises.

On Wednesday our septic tank backed up and we had to call out a septic guy and dish out $275.00 to get that taken care of.

Thanks to Pedro, we’re cleared up again

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Thursday, my two older boys  AND I came down with some sickness that came on fast and intense. I’m not used to that. When I start feeling icky I’m generally able to talk myself out of it. Don’t got time fo that! But this time around– Nsm.

The kids and I had planned on doing a Sea World trip on Friday…….

Scrap that!

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Friday afternoon was upon us and four more of the kids got sick. Talk about staying busy with administering cool cloths for headaches, checking temps, administering water/juice and back rubs, removing blankets just to replace the blankets, every now and then taking a Tylenol, etc.

Nothing terribly frightening, just a bunch of moaning individuals who wanted to lie around and do nada. Very unusual for this crew.

I guess it was nice that if we were all going to get sick that it happened all at once!

As Saturday morning rolled around I woke up feeling a TON better and was very relieved , because now the last two kids were sick as well. It’s just easier for some reason to take care of 8 sick kids when you’re feeling good, ya know?

The older boys were also feeling a bit better  on Saturday so we headed outside to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.

Why we picked this activity is beyond me:

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We were feeling especially “tired” afterwards.

Thus far Bryan is still feeling pretty good. Which was cool, because it just so happened our gas powered cart stopped working…..

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So he checked over it and found a bad alternator and had to order a new one. Shortly after checking that our dishwasher started groaning like a hurt cow…..yeah, you guessed it. It was broken. Bryan removed it to take it apart…..

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The good news is he found the problem, ordered a replacement for the malfunctioning part, and the appliance awaits in our shed ready for his handy dandy hands to put it back together come next weekend……Considering this is a super cheap dishwasher used by 10 people multiple times a day, I’m not surprised it goes bad on us about every 6 months.

Besides, Elise says it’s kind of fun to have to wash dishes by hand

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I must insert picture of my handy dandy man, because he is just that. In so many ways.

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Between the moanings of the children, the groanings of the dishwasher, the bemoanings of Bryan and I as things fall apart around here, I walk outside and looked around me. I felt the sun beat against my skin…. the weather was fabulous! It was actually kind of a nice weekend in a non traditional sense.

I had enjoyed the rather quiet time of watching old movies, tending the little ones to alleviate as much discomfort in the most natural ways possible, having this little leg grabber follow me around NON-STOP in an adoring way……He’s got me wrapped up all around his heart.

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On Sunday, Bryan watched the kids while I took a 6 mile bike ride ALL BY MYSELF. It was lovely.

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This week hasn’t been by the book perfect, no indeed; we’ve been sick, had to spend $500 on various household fixes, but that’s life and how it goes. I’ve actually had a pretty good weekend come to think of it.  And as Monday came rolling around we were all feeling almost 100 %.

God is good. Always.

Take care and comb your hair,

Leilani

Fear of Dying

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News alert! This is a super dorky post. You’re welcome.

I want your input.

 

In 33 years I have never stepped into a salon(or used any home coloring kit) to dye my hair.  You didn’t think this post was about death, did you?

My reasons for staying dye free:

1. I’m fine with plain brown hair

2. It’s expensive!

3. I have to do it how often? Nsm.

4. Something about when people say, “I’m going chocolate brown this time!” and come out of the salon with poop green, it just kinda leaves me cynical.

5. I’m a naturalist. Most of the time. Except when it comes to Twinkies.

6. Bryan’s like “No way, I like your hair the way it is”

7. What if I love it and become obsessed and addicted and spend all my money and time and thoughts and life at the salon?

Okay, that ^ was a bit of an exaggeration .

 

The above rationale has been strong enough to keep me grounded to be an au naturale brunette and  I’ve always been under the impression that I’d allow for gray hair to come in at its own pace and I’d let it stay.  The reality is that when a plucky gray hair has shown itself (I think I’ve had like 5) it gets plucked, pronto.
Doesn’t sound like I’m  fully embracing going gray, does it?

I chortle in my head when people go the salon to “Just cover my gray, I’ll be staying as close to my original color as possible”,  and  they come out looking like an entirely different person….that happens to look kind of like their favorite celebrity.

Wow, I never remember your hair looking quite like that ever before.

And then there are highlights. Oh, baby. Wow, the way you can take a blah head of hair and turn it into a rainbowy head of euphoric art that makes you feel like a unicorn frolicking along a road in Utopia.

Man, that’s some good stuff.

Btw, how is it that when guys go gray all the ladies are like “He’s hot.” So. Not. Fair.

If it weren’t for copyright issues I’d be inserting pictures of some women who are rocking and styling the gray hair.

I just like it.

You ladies who dye your hair,  don’t get me wrong, there have been times that I’ve really liked somebody’s hair coloring gig and I do agree that there are good cosmetologists out there enhancing people’s faces by enhancing their hair, so I get it.

But I’m just  not convinced it’s for me.

If you’re a die hard dyer, persuade me it’s worth it 

 

Am I Being Intentional? Am I Implementing?

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We say it often– “I can’t seem to shed those pounds”,  “I wish I had more time”, or “I’ve just been so busy lately”. The list goes on.

It’s almost as if we don’t have the ability to make our own decisions. We say we want something, or wish for more time to do something, but yet we “can’t”.

Last night my sisters and I were stuffing cake into our mouths and laughing that immediately following the tasty treat (more like at the very moment of consuming it), we’re mentioning those few pounds we’d  like to get off and/or keep off. Do you see the problem here?
1. We’re talking with our mouths full of food and that’s really gross
2. We’re saying we want something but we’re unwilling to do what it takes to attain it

Do you ever find yourself confused that things aren’t “just happening” for you?

If you’re feeling  stretched, pressed, and maxed out, it might mean you’ve got some good reasons for it.

1. There are people in your life

2. You have responsibility

3. You are doing something that has potential

Last week I posted about a few ways to be intentional in connecting with our spouses, and I have to remind myself that if I’m not being intentional in all sorts of areas I’ll still feel “busy” but unhappy with the results.

Think of a few examples of things you must be intentional about if you want them to come to fruition………..Did you come up with a few?

A basic list for me would be:
Homeschool my kids
Clean and organize my house/yard
Make meals
Write a blog post
Exercise/work out
Be hospitable
Practice something I’m interested in:  music, reading, etc.

None of the above happens If I don’t implement.

The more I choose to be intentional and to implement, the better the results. Less frazzled, less scattered,  and more productive.
It doesn’t take away all the variables and difficulties, but it helps me stay “On mission”. ( I know a guy named Renaut Van Der Riet who says that a lot.)

What is one thing that you genuinely want to see happen in your productivity, but you just seem to be running in circles with?

Don’t think you have to be a superhero and do it all.

Be INTENTIONAL and pick one or two areas in which you can move forward in, and then….you guessed it– IMPLEMENT.

1 thing I would tell my younger self…..

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 These two words have come out of my mouth more oft than is fit:

“NOT ME”

Have you ever said those words, thought them?

I’ve said those words in the voice of confidence, I’ve uttered them in insecurity, and still other times, with a tone of ignorance/naivety.

Just a few somewhat shallow examples that I’ve used those words in the past and have proven myself wrong are:

1. Buy a mini-van? “Not me”, I thought.
I grew up driving trashed out cars. For real. One being  a 1980 Cadillac DeVille; that thing was about as long as a ship, didn’t have working a/c, the seats were covered in faded burgundy velour, the sun roof was glued shut, rust all around the edges and a horrible paint job. Bah, I didn’t mind. I kinda liked it. It had power. And besides, it was $800 and anytime I drove through the ghetto, I got many an admirer on the car.

BUT, when I got married I remember thinking mini vans were UNACCEPTABLE.  Junky cars, fine. Mini-vans, nsm. I just assumed married life would bring sedans, and when we outgrew that we’d get an older but gently used Suburban or something.

The time came, we outgrew our Camry, the price was right, we bought that mini van and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

2. Live in a trailer? “Not me” I thought

Why on earth would anyone voluntarily rent/purchase  a trailer? I’d rather have the rattiest, smallest  house that had a foundation and real walls than some cardboard box thingy on wheels that all the hurricanes in Florida love to demolish. Dang! I’ll live in a tent first.

Oh really, Leilani? How about that time when you and Bryan decided you wanted to buy land in the country and that termite infested, piece of junk trailer was on the property that you liked, and you both voluntarily moved into it?

Absolutely been one of the greatest things we’ve done. I couldn’t like a place more than our current home. I mean it’s true that there are awful things about the trailer that sometimes get to my heartstrings, but it’s been such a great experience for me/us.

3.Wear skinny jeans? “Not me” I thought

This one was said in the most vehement voice of all. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could ever see that this style of jeans was doable or flattering by any stretch of the imagination. To tell you the truth, I *still* haven’t actually worn a pair. I’ll be buying them soon. Why? Because I don’t think “Not me” about them anymore.

1 thing I would tell my younger self–“Not me” should rarely be on your tongue.

By taking steps in places that we never deemed possible or necessary there is a journey that God has planned for you and I that is so much fuller, so much more whole, so much better than what we can dream up on our own. The path may not always look like what we once liked or imagined, (and sometimes, it does). True heartache and difficulty may arise, but if it’s the right path, and if it’s where you’re growing/improving/learning,  then why not take that step, stop saying “Not me”, and go where He leads……..

What areas have you said “Not me” in the past, and have now changed that opinion?

I’d love to hear about it.

Motherhood; a self development tool.

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Self development is a hot topic. I don’t always agree on all that there is out there on how to move forward in it. In fact, the phrase itself sort of rubs me the wrong way, but, lookey there, I’m using it anyhow.

I DO see that there is a real issue on focusing on one’s self *too* much that it actually inhibits healthy, self development.

Which is where ‘Motherhood’ or ‘Parenting’ comes in really handy. All of a sudden life isn’t about ME anymore. It’s about ANOTHER.

I’ve been through a few different seasons of motherhood, and I’ll tell you what; every season has brought about things that I didn’t know before. Each season has its challenges and joys. There are still some seasons I’ve yet to walk through as a mom, but I look forward to them in anticipation that despite my lack of knowledge and experience, it’s sure to be an opportunity for personal growth.

Over the last couple of years I’ve had moments of  ‘mental collapse’  if you will. Thoughts along the lines of: Not always feeling like what I was doing is fruitful, sometimes bored with the mundane activities, a bit of discontentment here and there of seeing others accomplish much and me over here just doing the same thing I’ve been doing for the past 13 years. In my heart I KNOW that dwelling on those things is self destructive; a mental funk that I’ve always wanted to stay clear of, or at least when approached with it, to run away from it as FAST AS I CAN.

My vocation isn’t always going to have a sense of excitement and newness, and that’s OKAY!

I didn’t decide to be a full time, stay at home mom because of the fame and promotion it would bring me, I picked it and found myself in it because I see the genuine value that it has. Not only to me, but to those I am destined to be a mother to.

A few ways that I see motherhood as a tool to become a better version of who God made me to be, and relying on His strength to help me become that, is:

1. Allowing room for error  Kids are awesome at making errors and all of a sudden I find *myself* reacting to errors in a way that is full of error. I should go into motherhood  knowing that I AND they (my kids) have much to learn.  In order to be good at something, we must consider what it is we want to do, attempt to do it, make mistakes, go at it from a different angle and maybe only use some of the previous knowledge. Learn from those errors. Did you see that? We just ‘self developed’ a little bit there.

2. Putting others first This idea can go a couple of different ways. We can go in the direction- I’m going to give up so much of myself for another that whatever the OTHER (in this case, the child) person says or wants, goes. I find this direction to be the wrong direction. We should hear the voice of others, but they shouldn’t completely dictate what will happen.
The other direction we can take looks like this: Today I don’t feel like doing anything. I want ME time to consider me, but I choose NOT to give in to those feelings, instead I’m going to embrace this day with purpose and guide those little ones around me by doing and being what is best for them AND me.

I find that last one to be a better route. Guess what just happened again? We developed just a little bit more.

Yes, there are times for reflection and quiet that are healthy and useful. But those times differ for each one of us. Circumstances don’t always allow the same amount of time and freedom for one person as it does for another, so be wise in picking those times. Don’t compare to someone else your ‘free time’. Their schedule/circumstances and your schedule/circumstances are entirely different.

Peace is more often a state of mind vs. a state of circumstances

3. Gratitude I’ve found that when I’m walking in gratitude I have a greater sense of joy, and when I’m walking in joy, I am so happy to be doing what I’m doing. When we have joyful purpose we embrace the moment, and simultaneously have a healthy amount of productivity; creating a more natural environment for our children and ourselves to grow and learn. When they are growing and learning, I, in turn, am excited, which just continues this wonderful cycle of beautiful development.

Self development should never solely be for the purpose of fulfilling your own personal desires. It should be based upon the truth that by  genuinely serving  and loving one another we find real self development.

In my quest of being a mom, I often consider these wise words:

  “Live simply so that others may live”

indexmother teresa

#1 Beauty Tip For Women! Check it out…..

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What is that #1 beauty tip?

You guessed it; boob implants!

Okay, we all know that’s NOT where real beauty is at. Maybe the thought crosses our minds now and then (especially for us moms who have been around a bit longer than those teens), but, c’mon……

One time Bryan (my husband) mentioned: You look the prettiest when you’re happy and smiling. Those few words got me thinking.

Beauty is something that is attainable for all no matter your circumstances, something that is at your fingertips 24/7, something that is readily available but often difficult to hold on to–Joy.

Look at the definition of Joy:

1. a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

synonyms: delight, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture….the list goes on.

Hello!  I want all that! When a woman walks in the fullness of those attributes, I’d say she’s one heck of a beautiful woman.

What is it that robs us of the fullness of joy? Some of the top things on my list include:

1. Waiting for someone or something to give me whatever it is that makes me feel all of the above, and finding myself disappointed over and over again and I don’t even know why.

2. Lack of purpose

3. Discontentment

4. Comparing to others (goes hand in hand with discontentment)

5. Difficult circumstances

So what steps can we take to get ourselves out of that rut of ‘ugliness’ if you will?

Anyone who knows me knows that the foundation of everything in my life stems from my faith in God and my personal relationship with Him. That’s vital to my perspective and is the reality of my lasting joy. There are steps, though, that I have to continuously take to really experience joy and happiness in my life.

Many of us choose different vocations, we’re driven by different goals, our desires for what we want to experience on earth really can differ, and none of us have the exact same circumstances/personalities, but I think most of these can apply to us all:

1. Every day is a gift This brings to mind some song lyrics Every day is a gift you’ve been given make the most of your time every minute that you’re livin’.  Embrace the day with passion and gusto, find ways to really produce something; at your job outside the home, at your job inside the home. Wherever you spend your waking moments, put in your very best. Enjoy it.

2. Exercise As much as I don’t like focusing too terribly much on how I look on the outside, it’s very true that feeling healthy, strong, and at least somewhat fit is helpful in being emotionally balanced. Get outside and walk, run, swim, bike, or, if you’re privileged to do one or all of those inside on a contraption, have at it. Just a little bit every day or every other day or whenever you can. Hey, it may even help shed a few pounds that we so often want to get rid of, and it sure gets the blood flowing and the mind working when we stay active.

3. Keep learning We should be ever growing (don’t take that too literally). As a stay at home mom by choice, and a passion for doing so, I’m not in a circle of peers/competitors trying to make progress in a company or with a boss, but I do think that I should strive to be more excellent in how I pursue the ‘vocation’ of full time, stay at home motherhood. A really simple example: Sometimes I hate cooking; so what!  Find more recipes to make better dinners, show my kids and husband they’re the real deal and I care more about them than my dislike for standing by a stove with lots of little hands and feet ever present. (Sometimes I dream that I’d love cooking if I had an expansive kitchen with every culinary tool imaginable, a glass of wine on the counter top and classical music playing in the background…..yeah, I’d probably love it then.) Stop! I’m not comparing anymore, remember? 😉
Anyhow, find ways in whatever field you’re in to be more excellent, to be more purposeful, to enjoy the sometimes hard things in order to see that you’re truly adding value to what you do.

4. Smile Now we know there’s a fake smile and then there is the real smile. The one that because we’re joyful on the inside shows up on the outside. Don’t forget to express that. Show your children, your spouse, your co-workers, your friends, your parents and strangers that you indeed are grateful for your life and for them.

So here’s to pursuing being ‘beautiful’! (Clap, clap, hands in the air, circling round and round to the music playing in my head)