In Want or in Plenty: Real Ways to Create Contentment in Your Life

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message…

On that sunny August day, I thought my life couldn’t get much worse.

Recently separated from my husband and with no support from him, I was teetering on the financial edge. My kids and I had just moved in with my parents, and I was desperately looking for a job to support my two middle schoolers.

I thought about our old life where the only thing I needed to get them ready for a new school year was a debit card and a couple trips to the mall. With school only a few weeks away, I didn’t know where I’d get the money to buy clothes and shoes or pay for annual physicals.

That was fifteen years ago.

Today, I do have enough, but the dread of not having what I need can still make me sick to my stomach.

We live in a tiny house, but one that is situated in the most expensive county in the US, with plenty of food, enough money to buy clothes we need and go out to dinner occasionally. Even take an occasional vacation.
This is the land of plenty. No doubt about it.

But what I’ve discovered? There are benefits and drawbacks to both.

When I was in want, we pulled together what we needed with the help of my parents, hand-me-downs from friends, Goodwill, and a small amount of surprise money that showed up in our mailbox. We didn’t have extra, but we had exactly what we needed.

Living in want is a scary place to be, whatever your want may be. But the other thing I discovered about living in want? It gives you plenty of room to see and experience God’s provision first hand, evidence of God’s care and provision for me and my kids.

Now, living in plenty? Whew! Finally, you can be relieved of the day-to-day worry about how you’re going to pay the rent, or the next car payment. But there is a drawback to living in plenty: You can forget to notice all the miracles around you.

We falsely believe we are making things happen—and that can even turn into thinking if only people were as ______________ (conscientious, hard-working, smart, etc.) as us, they would not be in want.

And suddenly we forget about the love, graciousness and strength only God can provide in both of these times.

So how do we stay content in a world that actively works to keep us discontent?

Limit your time around agents of discontent.

Where does your discontentment grow? For me, it’s looking at Pinterest or home decorating sites. I see all-white country chic homes and am transported into another world—until I have to come back to earth and see my stained carpets, saggy couches and 1970’s bathroom. Not only can I become dissatisfied, I can project that dissatisfaction onto my husband, who works hard to provide for me.

I’ve learned to limit myself when it comes to my house. Currently, we are replacing our carpets with flooring. Instead of spending months perusing different websites, I’m heading to Home Depot. No muss. No fuss.

Get radically, ridiculously grateful.

This is an exercise I do when I need to recalibrate my gratefulness. Notice how many things you have directly around you.

As I write this, within a foot of me are:

2 Bibles
A notebook and pen
A coffee cup with hot coffee in it
A banana peel from the banana I just ate
A tray a good friend gave me
A couch I’m sitting on
A quilt my mom made me
My dog cuddling with me
Just noticing the blessings in my immediate surroundings changes my perspective.

Here is what I know from reading God’s word: We need to set our hearts on God and not our circumstances. We must learn to live both in want and in plenty.

God will meet us, no matter our situation. Our ability to be content is not determined by our circumstances, but our connection to Him.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Content?

Mustard-Seed-Faith-by-CRI

It is the last day of November and the panic of the holiday season is about to start (if it hasn’t already).  My calendar is full with lots of business activity over the next 14 days which is exciting so this morning, I took just a moment to STOP!  A mixture of emotions have been flowing through me as the holiday approaches.  I am struggling with being content and not wanting more.  More money to pay bills.  More money to spend and give to others.  More time with my daughter.  More time to spend with family. More business.  More recruits.  More weight loss.  All of these things are attainable with prayer and thanksgiving.

I saw this and it made me think about my contentment…

Being content in our lives takes work. Contentment is not something which just happens. Far from it actually because we are a needy people. We always want something more. We always work harder to get the things everyone else has. We all have even been guilty of commenting on our lack of satisfaction of our life placement. It is once again one of those pesky human nature things.

We wonder why some people are successful or have what we want.  The grass is greener on the other side syndrome takes over in my case (more often than I would like to admit).  I forget to be content in God’s blessings. I forget to be content in the things God has given me. I forget to trust God is going to give me everything I need but maybe not when or how I want it. I simply forget.

Contentment is possible. It simply takes work. It takes commitment on our part to not complain about the things we do not have. Instead we need to focus on the things we do have. Focusing on the pure grace God has given each and every one of us. This contentment is important so that we can in fact continue to praise God the way that He deserves……

Today, as I reflect, I am content.  Content in my business.  Content in my marriage.  Content in my life.  I know God will continue to bless me if I remember everything I have is a gift from him.

Are you content in your life?  Are you struggling to find the positive when there only seems to be negative?  PAUSE and give thanks for everything – no matter how small.  You will be amazed at how this “gratitude walk” will change your outlook.  If we practice this each day, Negative Nellie will find a new home.   We will be content and happy in our lives.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Beat the Summer Slump

Have you experienced the summer slump?  Did Vacation Veronica drop on your doorstep when the kids got out of school and never leave?  Have you looked at your Fall calendar and realized it is empty?

Many of us experience the summer slump.  When I was working in the non-profit world, it was a time when we took things a little easier.  As Belinda was growing up, it was when I took time off for major events in our personal life.  Why?  Because we are laid back in the summer.  The world (at least at the Jersey shore) moves a little slower.

When I started my Thirty One journey, my summers were pretty much the same way.  I didn’t ask people to party so as a result my summer slump became a fall fiasco!  My sales in the summer slowed to a dribble which made for a quiet Fall despite always having a new catalog.  “Summer slump” – most retailers and business owners experience it so why not you, right?

This season I did things a little different.  Everyone is online – from grocery shopping to clothes shopping to buying large items for the home.  So, I went virtual too. I became the face my customers associated with Thirty One.  I didn’t want them to be asked “who is your consultant” and they say “not sure” or “I don’t have a regular one”.  I wanted them to say “It is Hope and here is her information”.

Are thinking, I’ve been in a summer slump, my calendar is bare for September so it is “hopeless”.  WAIT!  Don’t let negativity overwhelm you! There is still plenty you can do to hit your sales goals for the fall.

FIRST! Kick Vacation Veronica to the curb.  Schedule some time to work on your business – even if it is just 20 minutes a day.  You will be surprised what you can get done in 20 minutes when you are focused.

It is time to work your business.  Despite being pretty happy with my business all summer, I was entering a new phase – 95% online business with Facebook parties, vendor events and an occasional home party.  YIKES!  It is scary but I am determined to make it work.  I mean it has all summer so why not into the busy holiday season, right? “Wine Down” has been the most popular themed Facebook party for September.  I mean who doesn’t like wine, right?

If you haven’t been working your business – it is time to get busy.  Here are some ways to ramp up your business these last 2 weeks of August so you are getting back on track for September….

#1 Upcoming Event and Celebration Packages.

Kids are headed back to school, fall sports are starting, people are looking to raise money… the list goes on.  People are getting together to celebrate  (any excuse for a party, right?).   Why not create some special packages for all the different types of celebrations and reach out now to offer your products. This could be as a present for others or for their own personal use.  Here are some examples of celebrations and events: Back to School, Weddings, Anniversaries, Family BBQs and reunions, etc.

#2 Show-on-the-Go.

Are you always prepared for a mini show presentation?  I have a mobile office in my trunk with some products ready to show off to anyone who asks.  Are you a walking billboard for your products? Be sure you always have your product on hand to demonstrate to potential customers.  Don’t miss an opportunity to share your products!  Have your business card ready – actual or electronic.  It means you will have to follow up with them but who knows what could develop…

#3 Follow-Up.

Just because your customers are away, doesn’t mean they don’t want to benefit from your products or replenish their stock.  I am always amazed when I get a text from a customer looking for a product they saw while on vacation.  Follow-up means getting on the phone, text or Facebook message (their preference) your customers and see how they’re doing. Also let them know if they are away, you can ship their products to wherever they want!

#4 Create More Content.

Did you know this is one of the most important things you can do online to help generate more profit for your business?  Videos, blog posts, demonstrations, tutorials and more.  Get in the frame of mind to teach people more about what you do and offer them value. The more you share, the more interested they become in your products. This is a great time to ramp up VIP Group and create amazing content for your Business Page.

#5 Markets and Vendor Events.

Check out the local fairs, markets and vendor events. Find local markets in your area and inquire about renting a table.  Many of the markets continue through September.  Look for those holiday vendor/craft events to help you gain new customers and get out of the summer slump.

What will you do to KICK your Fall into gear?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Stop The Comparison Game

12414868-Stop-sign-illustration-Stock-Vector-noWOOHOO!  It is the weekend, okay, the start of it and it is Feel Good Friday!  The day when we squash those inner gremlins who want to keep you from being happy…

When was the last time you compared yourself to someone else?  Over the years, I’ve compared myself to others when it came to school, looks, money, my business and more. The first step in stopping the “comparison game” is to acknowledge it.  The truth is everyone has done it at one point in their life. The difference is what happens after the comparison…

Some people compare themselves to others to determine their personal value which usually ends up with us feeling like crap, right?  Negative thoughts bring more negative thoughts.  Or do you play the comparison game and get inspired.  Does it motivate you to change your situation?  Honestly, this doesn’t happen to most people and in the end results in more negative thoughts.  Either way, by comparing yourself to others, you are holding yourself back.

Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else or it may require more hard work, but it doesn’t mean everything is impossible for you. Everyone is on a different path, and there are people who are better or worse off than you.  Instead of comparing your path to those around you, why not focus on what you can do to make your dream a reality.

Here is how you can stop comparing yourself to others…..

#1 – Realize comparisons are often negative and most of the time they do not help.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Be happy for others and instead of feeling jealous be happy for their success of others.  Good things can happen to other people, it doesn’t mean your life is any less important or any less of a success.  By being happy for others, you’ll learn to accept yourself and let more positivity into your life.

#2 – Be motivated, not competitive.

Be inspired by other’s success or happiness. The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone, think about how you could possibly do something similar (if it’s what you truly want to do). Use others achievements as inspiration for your own life and goals.

#3 – Take a break from social media.

This is tough in today’s world so why not “stop following” those who you play the comparison game with.  I am still friends with some people BUT I don’t check their news feed for snipits of their wonderful life.  Social media can be fun but you are just seeing carefully selected pieces of someone’s life.

#4 – Be confident.

I compare myself to others because I tend to lack self confidence.  While I’m not as confident as I would like to be, I am getting better.  Gaining confidence can help you too.  Yes, you can learn to be more confident.  When you are confident, you will learn how to stop comparing yourself to others because you believe in yourself.

#5 Be positive and happy with who you are.happy dance

No matter how life may be going for you, I believe a positive outlook can help to improve your life. It’s all about being grateful for what you already have. Everyone experiences sadness, anger, being scared, etc., and sometimes it can be difficult to see the positive or to be happy in spite of the circumstances.  Negative thoughts keep you feeling stuck with the feeling like there is no way out of your problems, and zero options. While being positive helps you realize you are able to do things, you are in control of your life, and the little things will not kill you.  You will be able to move on and deal with stressful situations better.

#6 – No one is perfect.perfect1

Accept your past and present, realizing you can make changes for the future if you truly desire to do so.  You may be at the beginning of the journey while someone else is at the middle or end.  You don’t know what they’ve been through, so you can end the comparison game.

 

These things are sometimes easier said then done.  Pick one and focus on it if you can’t fathom doing them all at once.  Find YOUR dream, then figure our YOUR action plan.

How could you stop comparing yourself to others?

 

Day 500

500

Happy Monday!!!!  It has been a busy week since Belinda arrived home on Wednesday with 3 friends from North Carolina.  As crazy as it has been, I love having kids in the house again – YES, I am that crazy momma that wants all of the kids at the house.

I just realized that TODAY is Day 500 of blogging.  WOW!  Who would have thought a simple challenge would still be going on.  When I tell people that I blog, the first question that they ask is “what do you write about” and the next one is “who reads it”.  Well, on most days, the writing part is easy because I LOVE to write and share all of the tidbits of information that are in my brain.  The second, I really can’t answer because I don’t know.  No, I don’t check my dashboard on a desperate hunt to see who has read my blog.  I really don’t want to know because I am afraid that if I do see the numbers, I might get discouraged.  I will say that the only that that I really tweet is my blog and some random posts so when I see new people following me, I am guessing it is because of my blog…this is a good thing.

I have seen lots of articles from a wide variety of people on blogging…Here are some tips from Entrepreneur.com

1. The article needs a point.  I typically have a point, I know that some may disagree but I try to share things I have learned that may help others in their business.  Usually, I am motivated by something that has happened personally or something that I have read or learned at a training.  I try to use key words that will draw people to my blog as well as want to continue to read it.

2. Images.  I have to admit, I don’t always have an image but I know that I should.  Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in the writing that I forget the pictures help to tell a story too.  People are drawn to pictures…

3. Structure. In order to communicate a concept, you need to organize your thoughts. Otherwise, you’re going to have a scattered assembly of sentences and statements.  Okay, so this is definitely NOT one of my strong points.  I mean, I try to stay on topic but feel that I would rather share then sound like a term paper.

4. Unique content.  You need to have a unique angle, approach, or spin.  Second, you need unique content. You hopefully wouldn’t copy and paste content from another site onto your own.  I am not sure about this… I really like adding information from other bloggers and from articles then sharing my perspective on things.

5. Substantial length.  I remember being told that 600 words was a good length.  I mean it shouldn’t be a book, right?  I found it odd that the recommendation from this article was 1,000 – 1,500 words.

6. Internal linking.  I love doing this, linking to my own as well as others web sites.   Hopefully, the links are things that people are interested in.  The recommendation is 3 – 10 links per post.  WOW!  Maybe I need to rethink how many I have each day.

7. Attention to proper spelling and grammar.  This seems like a no brainer.  I mean who would want to read an article that is full of typos or grammar errors?  I will admit, it happens sometimes, I mean we are human, right?

8. A call to action.  The call to action is the magic ingredient that makes a blog post worth it all. Every post needs a call to action. The reader is ready to respond, to do, to click, to engage.

So, what other must-have blog tips would you suggest?  Are you ready to start blogging yet???

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!