Surviving is not Living

Posts Tagged ‘#tellyourstory2014

F is for Freedom

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I remember saying that the word for the year 2014 would be freedom. Little did I know in how many different ways that would ring true.

I meant financial freedom and freedom from a job. Not that I would have necessarily built my business big enough to be out of debt and able to quit my job, but that would be the focus for this year, to work towards that end. It still is, only now I have my husband to double that effort with.

But then came April, and another meaning to the word. It was my first year celebrating Pesach (Passover). I’ve started learning and observing various jewish practices. Pesach was the first holiday I experienced. It is a remembrance and celebration that the curse of the first born child being killed among all those in Egypt was not carried out to first borns in Jewish households. It is also a celebration of the Jewish people being led out of captivity from Egypt. I thought again of freedom.

And finally a much bigger meaning that this word has come to mean this year is in regards to all that I am learning about Jewish law and practice. Growing up I always saw all the laws of the Torah as being restrictive, “old-school”, irrelevant and enslaving. It is easy to see that when one looks towards them as individual rules rather than a collective whole. But as I have begun to understand them in context and with the idea that they’re not designed for restriction but for freedom. The freedom to draw near to my Creator and to be closer to holiness.

I had heard of a study done about children playing on a playground with a fence and then playing again after it was removed. I went searching for a source and found several articles that referenced the study, but none that clarified the source. The study concluded that when the fence was in place, the children would play freely, knowing exactly where the boundary was, and feeling safe within the boundary. When it was removed, they would stay closer to the building or their teacher and not venture as far.

Having no fence held them back from experiencing a feeling of freedom.

For a long time I threw around the word “legalism” and scoffed at people enslaved by some old code and tradition they didn’t have to follow anymore. But who was I to say what people had to and didn’t have to follow any more? Who are any of us to edit out parts of the book many of us claim to be holy and inspired? What I have found in Orthodoxy is more freedom than I ever had trying to do things my own way. I know the bounds I can live within for health, for a blessed marriage, for safety and favor. And for holiness. It isn’t legalism. It is life. It is my freedom.


Written by No More Tomorrows

August 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

E is for Entrepreneurship

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When I was young, I was obsessed with the Baby-Sitter’s Club books series by Ann M. Martin. It was about a group of teenage girls who started a Babysitting business. They held meetings, took minutes, had a treasurer, and really ran it like a business. I got inspired and decided to start my own. We had one meeting and nothing ever happened. That seems to be the story of my life in many ways. I have had great ideas a lot in my life. But not much has happened with most of them. However that one business idea (though admittedly stolen from a book) was not my own business idea through the years. Even to this day I continue to think up business ideas and ways I can (legally and ethically) make money without having to report to a boss or be away from home and from my husband for 40 hours a week. My heart has always been pulled towards Entrepreneurship.

When I was in college, there was a minor you could obtain, Social Entrepreneurship. It taught you to start and run a non-profit. At that point, even though I was not in that program, I started to dream of non-profits that I could start. In one of my classes we were tasked with designing a youth ministry, from the mission statement, doctrinal beliefs, budget, schedules, etc. I dreamed up the concept of a coffeehouse/youth center for inner city youth to come and hang out, help run, study, do homework, etc. It was pretty detailed and I really wanted to make it a reality. I had the idea to start visiting nontraditional youth groups/centers to observe and study them to help contribute to my future place. Perhaps it can still be a vision for the future.

I am a fan of entrepreneurship. Although I’ve always been told I’m a great employee and I have many wonderful references from former jobs, I have never quite felt like I “fit” in the job world. I’ve always had the desire to do things on my own terms. It’s not that I don’t want to work or am lazy, it’s that if I’m putting my effort into something, I want it to be my own.  It is also something my husband shares, and it is something we both wish to impart on our future children. In addition to the full time jobs each of us have, we also own a business together. It is one of many we’d like to be a part of. It is a Direct Sales/Network Marketing business. It is what we plan to use to fund our future dreams of business ownership. He is into photography and film. I want to write and potentially start a publishing business. We both want to be home with our kids and watch them grow.

In the 21st century, quite a few things have changed and the sky is the limit for business ownership. You can still do that traditional brick and mortar business, or you can get creative, find your niche, and create a business. Find a great business idea, see if it fits a need, if there’s already someone doing it successfully and decide if you want to try and do it better, or if you’re filling a need that hasn’t successfully been filled.  Do you have experience in office/secretarial/data entry type work? Join a virtual assistant website and start to build your portfolio. Then branch out into your own company. There’s network marketing and direct sales (also known as MLM and crazy pyramid scheme things… a reputation not so wrongfully earned but also not completely accurate). Get crafty and set up an etsy site. Take a skill you have and market yourself to help others with that.

If you enjoy working, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t have the entrepreneurial bug, there’s nothing wrong with you. We can’t all be business owners. If we did, the restaurants we eat at would be run entirely by the owners with no employees, hospitals would have no staff, and the world would be crazy. My jobs have taught me amazing skills, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet people, to serve people, and to grow as a person. Every thing I have learned I will put into practice in my own businesses. I am thankful for the jobs I’ve had, and the lessons I learned.

But if you do have the entrepreneurial bug, scratch the itch. Don’t let it sit and stir within you without doing something about it. Even if you’re afraid. Especially if you’re afraid.


I know I got way behind on this project. I refuse to let this be another one of those things I said I was going to do and then let drift off into forgotten ideas of nothingness world. Yeah, I don’t know what that is either. But you get the idea. I will get caught up.  

Written by No More Tomorrows

July 31, 2014 at 10:49 am

D is for Discipline

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I am participating in #tellyourstory2014. You can read about it here. I love this exercise. 2014 is the year of my breakthrough.

Not that I will have “arrived”. Just that there are things I’ve been trying to get hold of for awhile and this is the year it is going to happen. At that point, at the end of this year, those things that I have standing in my way, once removed will give way to the next things. There are things on the other side. Things for me to learn. Ways for me to grow, in things I can’t imagine, in areas I don’t even know I need to.

A recap so far.

A.. Attention, giving instead of seeking. Being others focused more than I am me focused.

B…Bravery, doing what makes me afraid.

C…Consistency , Still a daily struggle.

D..Discipline, AND finding joy in it.

A mentor did a talk on the joy of the disciplined life. It sounded much like me when he spoke of his past. Straight C student, waiting until the last minute to do homework.  He changed. Now he mentors others on many subjects. He teaches people to be successful. He is a multi-millionaire. I counsel with him and have access to learn what he learned. I must take him up on that.

Too many people talk about discipline like it’s a bad thing. Boring. It leaves no room for imagination or exploration. But it does. You can schedule those times. One thing I am working on in the area of discipline is to plan meals 15 days at a time. Then I spend one day making all of the meals. It takes about an hour to shop, 3-5 hours to cook, and then I don’t have to think or plan the rest of the 15 days on what I am going to eat, or take the time to cook it. It’s a time saver.  I wonder how much time we spend wasted on decisions because we are going for what we feel like in the moment. I am working on getting to the place where food is food.  It’s my nourishment and my fuel.

One thing my mentor advises is to sit down each night, write a list of what you have to do the next day, and place beside it the time that you’re going to do it. It helps to consistently fit things in the same time each day if your schedule is one that mostly stays the same.

The meal plan I am succeeding at pretty well. The list making and accomplishing I am failing at pretty well.

Consistently disciplined. It is at the heart of my goals for this year.

What is your D?

Written by No More Tomorrows

March 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Being Mindful, Lessons

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C is for…

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“Be Consistent.

Expect Consistency.

Respect Consistency.”

I must say, I have always been pretty good at expecting consistency. Isn’t that the case? Isn’t it always easier to hold someone else to a high standard than it is to grow ourselves? I will admit though that my last relationship sort of wore that down a little. Okay, you said you’d call be back and a couple days later you still haven’t. The first few times were disappointing. The next few made me angry. Then finally I just stopped expecting it. “Let me call you back” became the equivalent of what “How are you” is in our daily lives. Just meaningless words. It was a way to end the conversation, not a promise of action. Recently I’ve been communicating a lot with a dear friend that I would like someday to be more. After becoming used to “I’ll call you back” meaning nothing, imagine my surprise when my phone rang and it was him! And then it happened again. And again. I had forgotten what it was like when someone follows through on his word to me.

This person is the same one who quoted to me, “Be Consistent. Expect Consistency. Respect Consistency.” His mentor quoted it to him, and I don’t know if his mentor read it somewhere or if it was a product of his own thought. But I wrote it down and I think about it often. We’ve already covered the expecting consistency part.

I struggle with being consistent. If you look back over this blog that will become evident. Promises made. Grand gestures that I couldn’t follow through with. A failed relationship in which neither one of us were consistent. Roller coaster emotions that make me think short term instead of into the future. Failing to follow through on my goals. When it comes to my promises to others I have a little easier time being consistent. But when it comes to promises I make to myself, and goals I set to change my life, there’s a lot of back and forth. And that is something I am striving this year to really change. It isn’t something that I will probably ever be perfect at. Who is? But it’s truly something I find value in. Because I know how important it is when someone follows through with me, I want to hold myself to that same standard. In being consistent to my goals, I will get further. What good is it to work out for 2 hours one day if I don’t work out again for a few weeks? What if it was just 15 minutes a day? Wouldn’t the habit of 15 minutes a day consistently over a year make a bigger difference than 2 hours every couple weeks?

Okay, so we know to expect consistency. And we know it’s best to be consistent. But what about respecting consistency? Do you acknowledge when you’re on the right track? Do you acknowledge and appreciate when someone is consistent with you? Perhaps the problem with all of this is that we don’t respect consistency. We don’t make it a priority. Our friends will understand if we can’t follow through with something. Our family loves us anyway. Is that an excuse? Does it make it okay to let people down because they understand and love us anyway? Do you respect the consistency? Or do you just expect it without offering anything in return?


Written by No More Tomorrows

February 4, 2014 at 10:34 am

Posted in Being Mindful, Lessons

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