Category Archives: Local

Embarking on a New Path

One beautiful aspect of this life is that there are no constants. 

Now, for a control freak like me, that concept is always first handled with trepidation.

But when I remember that life isn’t stagnant, that change is necessary for growth and to reach goals, I feel emboldened and blessed as I take the first tentative steps on the new path I see before me.

Independence

The BHE and I are both very intelligent and fiercely independent people.  We both would love nothing more than to live off the grid and thrive on our own efforts and ingenuity.

However, living in this time and place, and having been raised the way we were, we both cling to a few ideas of the modern, connected world.  Like health insurance, adult conversation, and the Internet.  I for one would like to know I have a steady income that includes benefits from a company, at least until my children are a bit more mature.  And our farm is functioning independently.

With independence comes greater responsibility, especially for oneself.  When you are beholden to none, you are more so beholden to yourself and your God.  I care not for the judgement of my peers but rather His view on the quality of my stewardship of His earth and gifts.

So the BHE and I have been talking about our options and alternatives.  I am a SAHM who would love to be a WAHM so, by golly, I gotta be independent and forge a new way.

Please, Lord, show me the next path I must thoughtfully walk upon.

Financial Independence

The goal here is to provide for ourselves, our children, our families, and our friends without depending too much on other people.  Reciprocity is the name of the game, rather than being borrowers to lenders, as that never ends well.*

For now, though, we do have a mortgage(s) and car loan (please don’t get me started on my student loans) and two small children.  We must be smart about our steps towards our end goals.  Which is why the BHE returns to work each day.  Which is why I have begun searching out ways to both save and earn.

If I do not have a steady income as a stay-at-home mom, the least I can do is be a good steward of the money we have been blessed with and use the considerable brain power God gave me to come up with new ways to work towards financial independence.

Saving

I’m known for my budgeting and my coupon-clipping and my bill pay spreadsheets… and my penny-pinching.  I will be the first to raise my hand and admit that I am a tight wad.  For all the hosting I’ve done, I can tell you I have upset a few guests in the past with how tight I hold my fist.

I found some new ways to save, and I plan on writing up my reviews of the apps that are helping me do so.  In fact, a couple of the apps are more than Saving; they cross the line into Making.  It is pretty cool.

If you want to get started on your own, I am using:

Checkout 51
Flipp
Coupons
Ibotta
Every Dollar
MobiSave
Walmart’s Savings Catcher
Target’s Cartwheel
And Payless’s (Kroger) digital coupons

Making

I decided to take it one step further.  Part of my approach to minimalism has been selling as well as donating and trashing the things we don’t need or want.  Now, after the passing of my beloved father-in-law and the subsequent inheritance of all of his shit crap garbage hoarded stuff belongings, we have a major inventory with which to work.  Antiques and collectibles, unopened boxes of supplies and tools, decorative items that have no place in our home, clothing and accessories that fit no one we know… the list goes on.

Thank God for the Internet!**  I have opened both an eBay shop and an Etsy shop as well as have posted items on all Craigslist sites that cover areas within an hour drive of me.  Also, if you didn’t know this, go take a peek at what’s around you in terms of Facebook pages labeled “yard sale” or “ rummage” or “swap”.

Here are some items I have up for sale:

blade.jpgashtraycoke-case

 

Here is the link to my eBay store, DeichMileFeirme, and my Etsy shop, Thoughtfully Sought.

Branding

While you’re online, reading this post and checking out my shops and the various apps I mentioned above, go ahead and check me out in the other corners from which I shine.  See the fun, colorful, crazy, thoughtfully sought path we are treading on my Instagram account.my Instagram account.  Find out what inspires me and what my big project ideas are on my Pinterest account.  Go crazy and LIKE my Facebook page.

If you’re trying to make a little extra on the side (and I do mean a little), start stretching your touch to various parts on the Internet.  There’s so much out there, and what goes around comes around. ***

How have you earned a little extra lately? 

What was the big-ticket item you last saved a ton on? 

If you were going to brag about how little you spent at the grocery, how would you explain how you did it?

 

*Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

**Seriously, I think I say that twenty times a day, if not more.

***Hebrews 13:15&16 – Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

My Annual Fundraising for the March of Dimes

Every year for the past 6 years, I have walked with the same team in the March of Dimes’ local March for Babies.  I have raised over $1000 in the years I’ve done this, and that really isn’t that much, just a drop in the bucket.

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Won’t you help me help babies?

My NICU Nightmare

I carried both of my pregnancies to term. Both of my children were born after 41 weeks and were perfectly healthy.

Just two days after he was born, a standard blood culture run by the hospital came back positive and my newborn baby boy had to undergo special treatment starting about the time we should’ve been going home. My whole world view changed this past Thanksgiving as part of my heart was taken away to the NICU.

My healthy baby boy had to have a week’s worth of iv antibiotics, two diffent kinds to be precise. The first iv in the crook of his left arm worked its way out so the next went in his right arm; when that came out, they ran one into his scalp. It really is less cumbersome and painful for the little ones, but to see it is to be terrified.

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Fortunate

We are fortunate compared to other moms and dads who live for a bit in the NICU. Our boy was healthy. I’m a SAHM so didn’t have to worry about getting back to a job, just back to our daughter. The BHE had saved up his PTO so was able to split his time between the newborn and me in the hospital and our sweet angel baby at home.

It was hell.

But we are fortunate.

Our time in the NICU was short with a very positive outcome. There was no great fear nor major questions lingering over our heads while we were there. We knew when we were going home and that our boy would be healthy when we did.

March of Dimes

Not everyone whose baby enters the NICU has such an easy time or happy outcome.

The team I walk with has a young boy we really around who was born at 27 weeks, 3 days, only 2 lbs 4 oz. The time and terror his parents spent in the NICU is unbelievable.

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I walk with and raise money for the March of Dimes to help families like theirs. It isn’t just about nursing preemies to health and preparing them for the world outside of the womb; it’s about finding how we can stop premature births from ever happening.

It pains me to point out that not all premature babies do leave the hospital in the arms of their parents. I want to do whatever I can to save lives and help the families affected by premature birth.

Your Contribution

Help me help the March of Dimes help babies. Please click on my fundraising link and donate to this worthy cause before I walk in 3 days. You can learn more about the March of Dimes here.

As I said on my Instagram and Facebook accounts, just $5 from everyone connected to me via social media and I would raise more than TRIPLE what I pledged. I know I left this for last minute, but any contribution you make to the cause would be greatly appreciated. Again, just click on this link to donate.

Thank you.

Building a Village

One SAHM’s ambitions to bridge the gap in her path

For those of you who know me or my blog posts like this one and this one, you are aware that I am a pregnant (third trimester!) mother of a two-year-old and have chosen to not work during these formative years of her children’s lives.  You may know, as well, that we live in a tiny town in a rural county.  I have friends and family that I can call and count on*, yes, but there are so few near me that I feel I could rely on for any-and-every-thing.  I need a village.

Springboard

First off, the pregnancy hormones this time around are a bitch.  And they are making me a bitch.  A whiny, crying, resentful bitch stuck in her great big house in the great big Nowhere.  During my first pregnancy, I was still working so I had things like:

  • Double our current income
  • Daily interactions with other adults
  • No other children so more flexibility with my time

I feel stuck.  I feel distanced from everyone.  Not just the friends without children or with children who are more independent (re: older), but I feel like I’ve lost touch with so many just because I don’t have the time/money/energy… or they don’t want to deal with me, my toddler, and my stories of the SAHM life.

And don’t get me started on how the Mommy Wars  (and I’m not talking just about the battle regarding staying home or going back to work) have affected my relationships with those I thought were friends.

Second, I knew I needed to be proactive.  I’m the go-get-‘em girl.  I am the hostess with the mostess.  I have always been the one who pulls the wallflowers off the wall, adds in a few gregarious individuals, and mixes it up at my house.  I just keep feeling less and less inclined to do this.

Last, there was this blog post that was shared with me on Facebook from the online village I’ve been welcomed into.  Read it.

It Always Begins with a Book

For real.  For those of you who know me in the real world, you know how often I start sentences with  “This article I read…” and “In this book I got at the library…” and “I was reading about…”  For those of you who know me in the virtual world, you’ve probably picked up on my bibliophilia as well.

I read, consecutively, Desperate: Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe and Getting Unstuck.  Without going into drawn-out reviews of these books, I can tell you they were part of the “springboard” as well.  I’m intelligent and insightful and have been known as a great problem-solver, but sometimes even the best (not saying I am the best!) need little reminders and pushes and small matches to lead to big explosions.  It was both heart-touching and mind-enlightening to read these and remember that I’m not alone AND I have skills and talents I need to be putting to work.

I need to not only come up with the answer to my question but to form the question in the first place.  I can’t mope around, being miserable because I feel so isolated.  I need to figure out why I feel isolated and what I’m going to do about it.

Let’s see:  I feel like I don’t have other women with children the ages of mine who also have similar interests as me that live near enough to me it won’t be a major hassle for us to get together.  I feel like I don’t have older women who have been-here-done-this to call on when I need someone to listen and (not try to cram advice down my throat) tell me I really will come out on the other side as a better, strong person with good, strong children.

My question:  WHERE ARE THE OTHER WOMEN!?

Um, duh, Sarah.  They’re all around you.  They aren’t moths to your flame, though, honey; they have their own lives they are tending to.  Just.  Like.  You.

It Takes a Village

Our mothers and their mothers and so on had whole communities they could rely on.  They lived close to their families and lived in towns and neighborhoods filled with other SAHMs.

Today’s world is so much different than just 15-20 years ago… and certainly not made up of communities like those in which my grandmothers raised their children.  I could wax poetic about technology and personal transportation and the need for many mothers to work out of the home.  But you know all that.  Or you’ve heard it.  Or you can just SEE it when you watch the kids climb off the bus near your house or watch the parade of cars lined up AFTER FIVE PM at the various daycares and after-school programs.

But it really does take more than just one woman to raise her children.  And it takes more than that woman’s husband (significant other, whatever) to build her up.  A village needs to be in place where she has other women LIKE HER to talk to and visit with and be around and work with to build up the other mothers in the area.

We can’t do it alone.  No matter how strong we are, no matter how independently we make it through each day, we still need each other on some level.  Women need women!

My Next Step

Well, first off, I’d like to stop crying.  I’d like to stop feeling like I have no one to turn to and that I’m doing this all on my own.  I want to stop having these little meltdowns every time it seems like no one has time for me.  I want to be just as proactive in other moms’ lives as I want them to be in mine.  I don’t want to feel alone any more.

Then, I want to give mad props to the women who did invite me into their village**… online.  One of my besties lives about 3 hours away and has a village.  (Yes, they DO exist!)  They communicate with each other IN PERSON as well as on the phone, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  They support each other and offer advice and vent about stressors and share websites with insight and recipes and funny memes regarding life as a mother.  And I was welcomed into their private Facebook group.  Again, these lovely ladies are three hours away.

What I need is someone RIGHT NEXT DOOR. OK, maybe not that close.  But close enough that if they need me to bring over some bitchin’ brownies in the middle of the morning or I need one of them to take Angel Baby long enough to let me get my hair cut (it’s been over a year and it is obvious), then we can do that for one another.  Or heck, just meet up in someone’s kitchen while the kids play in the next room and everyone is ok eating with their fingers, sitting in yoga pants, and ignoring the piles of laundry (clean or dirty, I’ll ignore it for you).

That’s my next step:  building a local village.  I’m going to talk to the ladies that bring their kids to story time beyond introducing our children*** and I’m going to call the women whose numbers I have had the backbone to get and I’m going to build up other women the way I need built.

My Approach

I think I’ll start with the Facebook idea, actually.  See, our generation had Stranger Danger beaten into us as children and then were gifted modern communication technology like chat rooms and cell phones when we hit college.  We haven’t had to interact with strangers.  Sure, classmates and coworkers were strangers that we had to interact with (and I have some really good long-term friends who are former coworkers).  But those were not social situations like story time or the line at the grocery or the benches at the park.

I have actually tried to approach other moms to have them quickly smile then look at their phones as I got closer.  Seriously.  This avoidance tactic is very obvious, ladies, and it will get us no where.  So I’m going to be the awkward one and insist you freaking meet me.  In the meantime, I will start small and local and online.  You can get to know me that way and see if you want to spend face time with me.

If you live near me, and I hope some locals are reading my blog, then expect me to be a little more OUT THERE in the near future.  And look for the group invite on Facebook.  It is my first step.  There will be more.

Oh, yes.

There will be more.

Q-and-A

That stands for “queries and advice” rather than “questions and answers”.  What are your thoughts on my approach?  What are the steps you have taken to reach out?  Have other moms reached out to you?  Are you open to this idea?  What’s it worth to you?  Who is your village?  And can I join it?

*Honestly, more days than not, I feel like I’m so alone and that these friends and family AREN’T there for me and CAN’T be counted on.  And the mood I’m in today, I’m not going to get started on how many times I’ve called or texted or Facebook-messaged to get nada in return.  It wears me down and the tears start flowing again.

**Really, these are great women that I have a lot in common with.  It isn’t just that we are moms to young children or SAHMs or that kind of basic connection.  These women are strong, independent, intelligent, and “crunchy”… just like me.  Sadly, they just live too far away to really be MY village.  They are A village that I can talk to but it just isn’t the same.  And yes, I have made the drive out there to meet them in person.

***Seriously.  I think we’re all guilty of this.  We introduce our kids by name and age and then completely forget that we are the adults and we are more than just their caretakers.  Last week, I met a lovely woman who had a two year old girl AND was pregnant AND due the same week as me.  We told each other this information yet still managed to not introduce OURSELVES.  I never got her name!  WTF!  I hope she’s there next week so I can rectify this dreadful oversight.

SAHM Activity #2: Finding the Free Things

When you’re stuck in a rut and feeling like you’ve got no way to get yourself out of it, use the handy-dandy Internets to research “free things to do around ___”.  Seriously.  It is free and gets you out of the house.  Double bonus round!

Near to Me

As you may have gathered from previous posts, we live in the middle of nowhere.  The tiny town we reside in is about 40 minutes from the closest city of any size.  And most of the time when I refer to Lafayette, Indiana, as a city, I put quoties around it.  Like this:  We’re going to the “city” today.*

However, even small towns have free stuff to do.

Starting with the nearest towns in my search engine, I made a list of the free things less than 20 minutes from me.  The list is short.  In fact, maybe I shouldn’t call it a list.  Here it is:

  1. Story Time.

There are two libraries within 20 minutes of me, one with story time Tuesdays and Wednesdays and the other with story time on Wednesdays.  We hit up two a week (if I feel like it and the weather doesn’t suck too much).  When it came time for the summer reading programs, I signed up both myself and Angel Baby to read for “incentives” (re:  prizes).**

Sweet Angel Baby taking a breather from the other kids after story time, looking exactly like her mother.

Sweet Angel Baby taking a breather from the other kids after story time, looking exactly like her mother.

Don’t forget Farmers’ Markets typically have more than just veggies for sale, so that can be an entertaining little walk.  You don’t *have* to buy anything.  Also, visit every park within that 20 miles radius.  Why not?!

Columbian Park Zoo

As you walk into the zoo, there is a water pad with a gorgeous globe and various animal statues.

As you walk into the zoo, there is a water pad with a gorgeous globe and various animal statues.

Spreading my search further from home, I made my list of parks in Lafayette.  There are actually quite a few, and some have fantastic playgrounds.  If you’re anywhere near to Lafayette, I highly recommend checking out Columbian Park.

This park has plenty of shelters with picnic tables, an enormous playground that’s divided by size/skill set of the children, a pond with plenty of water fowl and a fountain plus this cute little bridge, and an amphitheater.  If you’re up for it, there is a water park and a train (that aren’t free).  My goal the day we visited (back in June; I am just now writing this darn post) was the zoo.

Lafayette Parks and Recreation has done a lovely job providing a small yet educationally entertaining FREE zoo in the heart of the city:  Columbian Park Zoo.  Go ahead, re-read that last sentence.  FREE!  Ok, sorry, getting excited.  Mind you, this isn’t a large zoo.  It a free, small-city zoo situated on the side of a park.  They have a handful of exhibits that are hands-on (or walk-thru, like the wallabies; or climb-under, like the groundhog-gopher-rodent thing {I read the signs, I swear}) and ones where you look and learn (I’m a fan of the bald eagles) plus the little petting zoo.

One of the various signs around the zoo, calling your attention to the zoo's CONNECTIONS with the world at large.

One of the various signs around the zoo, calling your attention to the zoo’s CONNECTIONS with the world at large.

Hands On

Here are the fabulous pictures from that day***:

Donate (re:  help keep it FREE)

If you like the free things you’ve found, and you’d really like them to continue being provided, please consider donating.  Whether it is time or money or supplies, FREE things are always free.  (God, how many times have we all heard that?)

If you really can’t donate cash to your library, see if you can join their Friends of the Library.  If you take your wee ones to story time, offer to provide the snack or the craft supplies for the next one.  If you have a bunch of books at home that are in good shape but your children have lost interest in, donate them to the children’s library.  Offer to help decorate or clean up after programs and events.  See what they need, because your support is what keeps them able to provide FREE programs.

If you don’t purchase goodies from the gift shop at the FREE zoo, consider tossing some coins into the fountain as you go.  Seriously, every little bit helps.  Your presence is enough to show the city you care and are using what’s provided (which helps the powers-that-be decide how much money to keep funneling into the zoo), but every free thing needs a little help to keep being free.  I, for one, talk about the zoo on my blog.  I have also told many, many people about the zoo mobile, where a zookeeper brings various small animals to your library program for a small fee.  (Look at that:  two in one!)  Plus, there are usually volunteer opportunities.

When you’re at the park next time, take a look around and consider what you’d change.  Maybe you can be that force of change:  organize a trash pick-up day, donate tulip and iris bulbs from your own (admit it, overgrown) garden, refurbish a bench, whatever… find out who runs the joint and call them up to see how you can help.

What is near to you??

*Always a bit of snark involved considering I was born in a city to city-raised parents and grew up in a suburb where I could see a real skyline from our backyard.

**All the benefits of your local library will be laid out for you, by me, in a post that I’ve been composing in my head for weeks.  Bear with me, dear reader.

*** “Day” is stretching it.  We popped into the zoo on our way home from running errands.  With a 2yo and sore feet (and impending rain), you really can whip through this zoo in an hour.  I’ve been with a handful of the family, including children of various ages, and we were there about 2 ½ hours.  Think about it:  that’s roughly how long a movie lasts, but this is FREE entertainment.  That’s educational.