How to be Tolerant in an Intolerant World

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #20

Tolerance is a virtue few have.

I will be honest when I picked up this one I had to chuckle a little. Like I said when I started this project that these fortune cookie papers had significant meaning to them and I knew I would be learning valuable lessons from these little phrases. How can we be more tolerant around others and in situations that we may not agree with and be able to keep things healthy? Tolerance is something that we all have to work on at some point in our lives and the more we can grasp understanding the better we can be as human beings. Here are six ways we can work on being a more tolerant world.

1. Empathy Please

Empathy is the way that we can understand feelings and share them with each other. If we are empathetic with those around us, we have the awareness to care. One way to be more empathetic is to look at the perspective of the other person. A good example is siblings. Unfortunately, my siblings and I are not very close. I remember as a child having the hardest time getting along with my siblings. We would fight regularly, and usually, there was a consequence for our fighting behavior. I often wonder if our parents would have sat us down as children and had talked about what we thought was right and take time to listen to the other, I think we could have put a stop to the constant fighting and would have been able to build better relationships with one another. We each would have been taught to empathize with the other and learn to communicate with one another in a manner that would have built our relationships rather than each one of us continually attacking the other. Empathy causes us to be compassionate, and it takes away the “I am always right, and you are still in the wrong mentality.

2. Ask the Opposition For an Explanation

Let the other party explain their point of view. It is okay to have your viewpoint but taking time to listen to the one you don’t agree with gives a sense of respect and can make a tense situation and lighten it up a bit. I think as a whole many of us are taught to be right, and we need to understand this is a big world with tons of different perspectives and even though we don’t agree doesn’t mean that everyone else is wrong. When giving the other person a chance to answer don’t be aggressive when you hear something that you may not like and don’t dismiss their side of the story. Take this opportunity to learn from them and gain some understanding of why they believe the way they do and embrace the difference that you both have with one another.

3. Ignore the Differences

I think that if you can ignore the differences that you may have with one another and embrace the relationship you share that is a fantastic experience. Many individuals are in my life that share different opinions and views, and that’s okay with me because we are different. I value my relationships more than I appreciate the differences I have with them. Many of these things that we have differences on will come and go, and as long as we can get through the conflicting opinions, we get to keep the people that we love and appreciate.

4. Don’t Accuse or Assume

Anyone ever heard the phrase “Assuming makes an ass out of you and me.” In my life, I have found this out many times, and every word of it is valid. Accusing people is something that should not be done especially if you are valuing that relationship. No one likes to be accused of being something that they are not. The same thing goes for assuming. Assuming someone is just going to jump on board with whatever you expect is not only dangerous but pretty unrealistic. We are independent people with independent thoughts, and we can’t force people to think and act the same way we do it is just not going to happen. When dealing with different opinions, it is better to keep the accusations and assumptions out of the conversation.

5. Address the Problem and Try to Solve

Compromise is excellent when it comes to addressing a problem. By making sure to understand all points of view and showing acknowledgment of someone else’s viewpoints will get you further than if you just shut them down. Use negotiation to your advantage and keep calm so that the environment doesn’t get uncomfortable. Something to do when addressing an issue is using the “I” statements. Instead of saying you think this or you believe that state them as your viewpoint. Using comments that start with you can lead to people feeling like they are being accused of something especially if the conversation you are having has anything to do with disagreements.

6. Remember the Value of Difference

The difference is what makes our world great. It gives us an opportunity to grow and learn. We can still have our beliefs and opinions but understand that there is more than one belief or idea out there in this world. Even though you may not agree you can always agree to disagree and keep the clam before it becomes a storm. Take time to learn about the other points of view.

tolernace

We may not all think alike, and that’s okay. If we can try to remember to be empathetic with those we don’t see eye to eye with it will get us a lot further along in this world. When in a conversation that is getting heated take time to ask the other party for their explanation and gain understanding into why they think the way they do. Sometimes we can get past the differences by just ignoring them and focusing only on our relationships. Make sure not to accuse or assume something of someone else. Doing this never ends well and will leave you both unhappy. You can always address a problem and try to come up with an adequate solution by learning to make compromises. Remeber that difference is great and that we can learn something we may not have known about that other person before. Next time you come across someone or something that needs tolerance take a look at the situation and ask yourself is this argument worth this relationship?

How to Design a House and Make it Your Own

Add a personal touch to your living space.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #18

Keep in mind that home is where your heart is.

How important is it to make a house your own? A home should be where you feel happy and safe. A place where you can go away from all the worldly distractions and breathe. A person’s home has their memories of the life they have lived and loved. Here are ten ways to take any home and make it your own.

1. I love plants

I love plants but plants tend not to like me very well. I am not the best at being a green thumb and have had many failed attempts at keeping greenery in my home. Over the years I have come to realize I do best with plants that are low maintenance. I enjoy succulents especially as they are easy to care for and are very beautiful. Plants clean the air in the home and are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Putting a small herb garden in the kitchen will also help with cooking. If you are not too fond of plants putting up plant pictures can brighten up any mood.

2. Decorate in your style

Everyone has there own take on style and using yours will make a home feel more inviting to your senses if you incorporate it. If you are looking to add or replace things in the house, take a look at what you already own and decide if these things are what make you happy. Find the things you already love and work off those and discard the things that don’t connect. Take a mental picture of what you want this room to look like and work off that. It helps if you already have a few things in the space you love, and you can add more to it. Also incorporate the shapes, colors, and textures that make you happy. If you have a room that seems plain add a pop of color or add a different texture and by doing this you will give your space life.

4. Make Your Living Space Comfortable

Comfort is key when living in a house. I prefer my home to be comfortable especially after a long day. I like a place to relax and put up my feet and enjoy the remainder of my day in a peaceful setting that is warm and inviting. Add pillows to couches, chairs or beds. Pillows are always welcoming and who doesn’t love a beautiful soft pillow? Blankets are the bomb especially if you are coming home on a cold and blustery day. I am very picky when it comes to blankets and bedding and prefer softness to the touch. One of my favorite comforting blankets I own is a Berkshire Blanket. They are soft and keep you nice and toasty. You can wash them, and they stay the same just as you bought them. If you have hardwood floors, get an inviting rug that feels great on the feet, and place a lovely lamp on a side table for evening reading.

5. Clean Your Home

A clean home is a happy home. Keeping your home clean and organized will help you relax after a long day. Clutter is chaos and if you don’t get a handle on the clutter how can you have space to give you the peace you need. You don’t have to be a clean freak either to keep your home clean. Back in the day, I would slave all day to clean my house to perfection. I did chores that merely only had to be done once a week, and I found I caused more chaos for myself when that is all I would do is clean all day. I never gave myself a chance to enjoy life. Nowadays I don’t have enough hours in the day to be the cleaning freak I used to be and so I usually only spend 45 minutes to an hour doing the things I consider priorities and whatever doesn’t get done will then move to my preference the next day. It also helps to have a small cleaning crew which I have enlisted both of my children when it comes to laundry, dishes, and bedrooms.

6. Every Item Has its Place

Practicing this method can also help keep your home nice and tidy. Make sure that you don’t fill your house with too much stuff. My family has been guilty of this, and the last couple of years I have taken a minimalist turn in the way I live, and this is by far a way better option. I make sure every item in the house has a place to go, and if it does not, I will then decide if something needs to go so that I can find a place for this item. By making sure each possession has its spot not only does it keep the clutter out but I feel it will also help you from spending extra on the things you don’t need. An excellent example of this is clothing. I will only buy new clothing when I need to replace an item. If my jeans have holes or my top is too worn to wear I will replace it and not discard the object that is no longer needed.

7. If Your Space is Bare Spruce it up

I usually have trouble with making sure my walls are not too bare. If I come across a wall or space that is bare I typically add a cool looking print or maybe add a nice shelf and fill it full of your favorite trinkets or books. It doesn’t take much to make a spot more appealing a little can go a long way.

8. Flowers are a Nice Addition

Not only do flowers make a house smell great they are gorgeous to look at and will boost any mood when walking in the door. My kitchen is pretty dull, and when I need to add some flair to it, I do it with flowers. I love orchids, and nowadays you can find them in exciting bright colors that can catch any eye. Not only are flowers an excellent piece for most any space they are pleasing to smell and can brighten our day.

9. Find an Empty Wall and Decorate It

I did this with our wall that goes to our downstairs, and I will say it is my most favorite spot. I didn’t like the space that it left and decided that I would decorate the wall with pictures in a variety of frames and also some of the artwork that my kids have done. It is by far my favorite decorating spot. Walls are blank canvases, and you can decorate them any way you want. You can also use anything to decorate a wall. Prints, shelves and even plants can be used to put some decoration on your wall. Make your walls your own.

10. All Else Fails Change Your Sheets

I do this quite frequently, and I would say I change my bedding in my house more than anything else to add something new. When my covers start to look drab, and I want to spruce up the bedroom I go new sheets. You can change the color, texture and it does make a difference. I also will add different pillows and maybe a different throw to give it a total bed makes over and who doesn’t love new bedding that is probably my most favorite thing in the world.

When trying to make a home your own remember this place will be a piece of you.  Adding plants and flowers will give you not only a wonderful aroma but adding them can help elevate how you are feeling that day.  Make the space you live about you and what you like and discard the things that you are not so fond of, and of course, try to build a home of comfort that gives you an escape from the rest of the world.  Keeping a clean and clutter free house will reduce stress levels and help keep things organized.  Decorate your walls with pictures or colorful items to add pop to a spot that has been ignored and make sure that your bed make you happy and if it doesn’t change it.  Doing small changes and adding things here and there will take an ordinary home into your extraordinary space.

How to Get Out of Debt and Crush Those Money Goals

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #14

Whatever you want to do, do it. There are only so many tomorrows.

One of the things I want to do is get out of debt. This fortune phrase hit it right on the head and I want out of debt now. Something I struggled with most of my life was my finances. I was never very good at keeping a budget and didn’t quite learn the skills to get me through adulthood. In 2008 my husband and I took a substantial financial hit, and everything came crashing down to an unforgettable end. Unforgettable because this was the time in our lives when we hit financial rock bottom and had to make a change not only for ourselves but make a difference for our kids.
We needed to wake up, and we needed to get our act together, and that is precisely what we did. It was hard, and it felt like it took forever. We kept going even when there were downfalls and unexpected events that would put us behind. With all our effort and teamwork we managed to pull ourselves out of the dark abyss of the debt black hole. It wasn’t easy, but with a little patience and a lot of determination, debt can become a not so fond memory of the past. Here are five ways to get out of debt and get out fast.

1. Goals, Goals, and More Goals
Plan some goals and stick to them. Goals help direct you and keep you focused on the essential things you want to change. Sometimes goals can be very overwhelming especially if you have an enormous amount of debt and you don’t know where to start. If this is the case, start broad and work your way to small. I know it sounds funny but taking a look at the whole picture and breaking it down will make you take a look and see how easy it can be as long as you stick to it.

Long range goals will be goals that you will have years down the road. These goals are the bigger picture. My husband and I have a significant goal to be able to travel and do some van living once we are completely debt free. We have planned to complete this task in the next five years and are working on getting to that point. When designing large goals ask yourself what is it that you want out of life? How long will it take for me to get to that point? Answering these types of questions will help you to understand what it is you want and give you an idea on how to get there.

Next, you should work on planning some medium range goals. These goals can be completed in a couple of years. These goals will help you to attain the big picture, and they can include, paying off certain debt like student loans, or cars. They can also be adding a side hustle to make a little extra income. Medium goals can be made on a yearly basis. Keeping a log can help you attain the common goals. Make sure to be as specific as possible and use positive words when writing them out as this will keep you motivated. Our common goal is mostly based on our side business and keeping it running smoothly and successfully. Our side business requires both of us to put in the time and effort. We also have a monthly budget that we follow that keeps us in check.

Last but not least is making small goals that can quickly be followed on a weekly basis. These weekly goals help you focus on the things you would like to accomplish in 6 months to a year. Our short-term goals are to get vehicles paid off which we have been able to do except for one and pay off any student loan or credit card debt, and we are continually working on this as well. We have managed to take out a pretty big chunk in both the last six months. Like I said we just keep going once one goal is made then we tackle the next. One of the things I like to do to keep me up on my weekly goals and this could be done monthly as well by using a dry erase board, and I write three categories. These categories are Want to Do, Doing, and Done and I will start my week with my task all under the want to do, and when I need to, I move the work to the next category until they are finished. I am a pretty busy lady, and sometimes all the things I think about will almost make my head explode so if I write them down and see them it keeps me organized and creates a less stressful environment.

2. Downsize Me
When we hit our financial crisis, one thing we had to do whether we liked it or not was downsize. We went from a four bedroom home with full basement, garage, and backyard to a three bedroom apartment, and yes it was interesting. We have two kiddos, and they were pretty young at the time, so they had to share a room because I had a side Ebay business that needed an office. We downsized and lived tiny for a while to get ourselves back on our feet. I will tell you my kids looked back on it and didn’t mind it at all. It brought them closer, and they had to learn to get along more. I consider this a blessing being able to do this and learning to minimalize. I became a minimalist because of the very reason of downsizing. It is incredible to realize the amount of stuff you don’t need.

3. Want a Ride
One thing that has helped us out is lowering our monthly gas expense. We live in Fort Collins, Colorado and we have to drive to Denver once a week for our side job, Which is an hour away sometimes a little longer so we have to be careful how much driving we do throughout the week. My husband’s full-time job is six blocks from our house so most of the time he uses a bike not only is it fun for him, but it keeps him in shape. I try to make weekly grocery trips and keep our going back and forth to a bare minimum. When we first needed to get back on our feet, we decided to buy a car from an auction site instead of buying or leasing something newer to save on monthly payments. It also lowered our insurance since the car was older the coverage was less expensive. There are lots of ways to downsize the amount of gas you pay each month, and this can make a big difference on what you will pay at the pump.

4. What’s For Dinner
I get asked this question every single day and more than once by more than one person. I am the meal planner and in most circumstances meal prepper. Back when we thought money grew on trees, we ate out all the time. Now I look back at it and think “Oh my gosh I wasted so much money and half the time what I ate was awful.” We do not eat out if we can help it. Not eating out can save you tons of money and not only that your waistline will thank you as well.
I am a planner, and therefore my meals are planned, and I prepare my shopping by matching coupons, sales ads, and discounts where I can find them. If you are healthy eater that is fantastic because so am I and I will tell you yes you can eat healthy on a dime and I do it all the time. I plan my grocery bill around what is on sale and where my discounts will be found. There are many nutritious foods you can eat that won’t break the bank. I also have an Instant Pot and let me just say this thing is sent from heaven above and is my go-to for most of my meals. I make soups, sauces, beans, rice, vegetables, even meat in this thing and it rocks! Not only does it help me make affordable yummy meals it is so easy to operate just set it up and let it cook.

5. Every Girl Loves Her Shopping and So Does This One
I love to shop and back in the day when I had no clue how to save a dime I did just that I went shopping. I look back now and realize that most of the time I was wasting time and precious savings. I am so thankful that I came to my senses and figured out I can still shop but just have to be more mindful in my shopping. I even have better things now than I did when I was spending money like it was water. How is that possible you ask, I am very keen on season sales and watch many of my online clearance sites. One of my favorite sites is Steep and Cheap. I am an outdoor girl, and this place has tons of outdoor clothing and accessories for huge discounts. Steep and Cheap is by far my favorite place to shop, and you can find some things as much as 90% off. I have paid that much off, and it makes me very happy when I do. To shop with them you need to get on the email list, and it is straightforward so it is easy to join. I also learned that I should only buy for the things I need and not to waste on things I want. So I wear out my jeans and keep shoes around forever. I keep the stuff I have in good shape. I am more aware of how to care for these things, so they do not need to be replaced.

Knowing your goals and planning them out will keep you focused on what you want out of your life. Making changes and downsizing things that you may not necessarily need can give you more to work with when paying off debtors. Carpool, biking, walking, or just being more aware of your driving can save you at the gas pump. Quit the takeouts and fast food and choose a more healthy and less expensive alternative. When you shop remember to ask yourself is this a want or is this a need and if it is a need try to get it at the lowest best price around.

Even though trying to control the debt monster can seem at times impossible know that with patience, dedication, and focus you can control your future. There are only so many tomorrows so instead of waiting jump in today and make those changes to give you the life you want.

7 Ways to Embrace Self-Dignity

Love who you are

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #12

Treat yourself with the same dignity and respect you give others.

I look in the mirror and what do I see? The question that I asked myself seven years ago and the answers were not very pleasing. I have always battled with this concept and beat myself up over it many times. Can I genuinely look at myself and say yes, I am worth it? Most of my life this would end up in an instant, no you are not, and to me, that is the saddest part. I have only actually embraced my self-dignity a few years ago when I decided to take control and win the war that I battled with myself for so many years. I can honestly say today that I am worth every minute of every day.

What is self-dignity? To have self-dignity one must have self-respect and a sense of being worthwhile. Mastering self-respect can be a hard task to grasp and takes a lot of work if you are struggling with not having feelings of self-worth. Here are seven ways to help you gain a sense of self-dignity.

1. Have Encouragement
Having a way to encourage yourself is a great way to help you gain self-respect. Surround yourself with positivity and good influences in your life. Give yourself a chance to grow and never give up on how you want to feel about yourself. There were days that I lost my encouragement and on those days I would listen to positive music. One of my favorite musicians is Matisyahu, and his message always helped me get through my worst days. Find a source that gives you the hope to keep going on in your journey.

2. Perfection is Not Happiness
Perfection is not crucial to happiness. Not being perfect is one lesson I had to take to heart when I was finding my self-dignity. I always thought I had to be perfect and that mistakes were weaknesses. What I didn’t understand is that this was a distorted way to think and that with errors comes growth and growth is essential in finding one’s self-dignity. I was so focused on being perfect that I let my self-worth go down the drain because I was always beating myself up over nothing. When I let go of the perfection problem I noticed that I was happier and that I wasn’t as anxious about things. When you make a mistake in life take time to reflect on this mistake and move on because you will grow from this reflection.

3. It is Ok to Say No
Not being able to say no can be hard for someone who struggles with self-worth. Many times I considered myself a people pleaser and would agree even if that is not what I wanted to have happened. I feel it was more of a fear of not being accepted by those around me. I starved for acceptance because I did not recognize myself. When I started to say what I wanted to say and do what I wanted to do I gained a sense of power. I had control over what I thought was right. Being able to say no and be comfortable also gave me freedom from always being told what people would just automatically expect from me. It is ok to not go with the flow that’s part of being an individual.
Also, remember that it is ok to say no to someone who wants to bring you down. There are people out there that merely might wish to see you fail. Rember that this is not your problem and you do not have to accept their treatment. Stand up for yourself and be strong. Embrace who you are and love what makes you different from others.

4. Have a Plan
Just like setting goals having a plan for life gives you the motivation to work on things you want to change. Plan on knowing how to handle certain situations and people around you that might affect how you view yourself. If you are prepared, it will be easier for you to deal with these situations in life. Not everyone and everything will be on your side, and that is ok as long as you know how to handle these types.

5. Do Something
Do something fun and make the day great. Many times if I have a bummer day I just solely go for a walk to clear my thoughts and breathe. Read a good book or listen to pleasant music. Anything to boost the mood you are battling is better than just sitting there feeling bad about yourself. Enjoy life and remember that you are worth the time take and check with yourself. Invest in a hobby that makes you happy. Nothing is better than using your energy and creativity on something that heals you.

6. Choose You
Choosing you is not selfish. I had a hard time with this one when I became a mother. I had this desire to sacrifice myself and my world for my kids. I still do this, and every once in a while I need to take a step back. How can you help anyone when you are not helping yourself. Everyone needs time to reflect and grow and not choosing yourself holds you back from doing this. When I need time, I take time, and when I am done, I am a better mother, wife, and person for taking the time. Many times when dealing with not feeling worthy you feel as if you should not love yourself and this is not the case. Take the time to help yourself gain the respect you deserve.

7. Exercise
Getting up and moving can naturally boost your mood. Not only can this be positive to your mind it can be positive on your physical aspect as well. Exercise gets the body and minds active. Physical activity can get the endorphins going, and it can also help you in times of stress. I have friends that run merely because it is a form of therapy for them. Exercise can help you focus on goals and challenge you in ways you never thought possible. Challenging yourself can boost confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment.

How much are you worth? Take the time to understand and appreciate the things you do. Remember not to let negative people and actions get in the way of enjoying who you are. Surround yourself with positive people and energy. Know that you are not perfect and it is ok to be who you are. Being able to be strong will help you see your dignity.

 

 

 

 

 

Get What You Want With Goals

Believe to Achieve

 

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #11

Two things to aim for in life to get what you want and to enjoy it.

Wouldn’t the world be a fantastic place if we all could just get what we want in our lives? Too bad we all couldn’t just have a magic genie that could grant all our wishes. How can we still have reality and get the things we want in our lives? The answer lies in goals. Having goals gives us a vision and a purpose to achieve what we want. Goals are the closest genie we will get in life, and it’s time we embraced it. Here are some ways to crush your goals and create the life you want.

1. Believe and you will achieve
Many times most of us want to do great things, but we hold ourselves back from getting what we want. Holding ourselves back can be an array of reasons. We may not have the self-confidence that we feel we need to get to where we need to be. There is also a great sense of fear when it comes to challenging ourselves and trying new things. To be able to beat this curse learn to be a high achiever. Instead of thinking I will work at this start thinking I will do this. Change the way you think, and believe you will achieve.

2. Challenge Yourself
Like I mentioned above don’t hold yourself back. If we don’t try how will you ever know? Creating challenges for your goals can be fun. I am a fitness queen and love to work out. Exercise was not always my thing. I had to start from the beginning and work to where I am now. When I started, I was weak not mention my body was pretty sick. It has taken me three years to get to where I am now. Every time I would work out it was a challenge for me, and I had the mindset that I was going to crush each challenge. Some of these challenges scared me and other tasks I thought I would never be able to accomplish. Through hard work, discipline, and patience I was crushing each challenge and hitting each goal. Now that is not to say that there weren’t downfalls because there were, but I picked myself up and kept going till I obtained what I wanted. Challenges are mindsets to helping you get to where you want, and you feel amazing after you accomplish success.

3. Not All of Your Goals Will Work
Sometimes we think we want something and end up not wanting what we thought we would. Changing our minds is ok and helps us understand our real wants and needs. If you decide that what your working toward is not what you want just change your goal and move on. Strive to achieve the goals that give you the most excitement. These types of goals will be the ones we work the hardest on and provides us with the drive to create our vision.

4. Write it Down
I write everything down. I love to visualize what I am doing and what will happen in my future. Take these thoughts and put them on a vision board or paper and look at these goals. What I love to do is journal and keeping a journal helps me to take a look at my progress. It is a constant reminder of what I am working toward to getting what I want. I write lists for me to work on every day. It gives me a roadmap and lets me know I am one step closer to get what I want, and I am motivating myself to get things done and keeps me focused on the big picture.

5. Small Steps Leads to Big Sucess
Working on goals to get what we want can be overwhelming. Especially if the goal is enormous and we don’t even know where to start. Look at these types of goals and decide what small steps you can begin taking to where you want to be. Evey small step that you choose will get you closer to what you want to achieve. These big goals do not happen overnight, and it involves lots of work and patience. Rember that this is a process and keep visualizing the big picture. I used to tell my clients that I worked with in personal training that exercise and diet were not a quick fix and that this was a whole body challenge. Each of these individuals can make these small changes to reach what they want out of their fitness. It takes time, determination, and patience.

6. Get Help From Family and Friends
Working on getting what we want out of life is a whole lot easier if our family or friends are supportive and involved in reaching a similar goal. Having a support system is key to success. If you are working together to get things done, it takes all of the pressure off of one person. Usually, if the whole team is involved the goal is achieved faster, and everyone knows what is expected. An excellent example of this is our family budget. My husband and I work as a team when it comes to our finances. We have found by doing this not only are we on the same page, but we manage to get to where we need to be in a faster time frame rather than just one of us working on finances. My children are also on the budget train and know what we are spending and what we are not so there won’t be any hassles later on down the road. Doing this keeps us all in check, and we find that we don’t overstep our bounds. You can still obtain success without help it is more challenging, but if anything it makes you most substantial in the long run.

If there is anything we should be doing at this point, it is aiming for what we want out of life. Life should be what we make of it, and after we have worked to get where we want to be, we should be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor. By conquering our goals, we can live the life we want. Believe in our futures and move towards the outcome. Remember these goals don’t just magically happen overnight and it is essential to make changes along the way. If we can keep a focus on the vision and create a plan especially with friends and family soon, we can celebrate the life we have created for ourselves