Sleep, oh how I miss thee!


Dear Readers,blogpostpic

I think back on my life before Vivienne and how little I treasured sleep. I mean, I always made a big deal about having it.. and so much so that my darling husband has dubbed “letting Jennifer sleep in” as a sixth love language.. but really in the end I completely took sleep for granted. Allow me to explain.. there is no time (the baby is about to wake up, not really but you get my point) so let me sum up.

In early childhood, when my parents wanted me to take naps, I would fight it and I also hated going to sleep at night, I didn’t treasure sleep.

When working three jobs so I could afford to move to Austin from New Orleans and having late night dinners with friends to strengthen those bonds before leaving, I didn’t treasure sleep.

When in college and pulling all-nighters to write papers or stay up all night with coffee and existentialist conversation, (not a euphemism, not a big drinker or party animal) I didn’t treasure sleep.

While loading in or striking a show set, and then going to Star Seeds or Kerbey Lane to celebrate in pre-show or post-show camaraderie, I didn’t treasure sleep.

When we were getting out of debt and I worked three jobs, and took the occasional day off, I certainly did not treasure sleep.

Also, any time I stayed out late to “sing one more song” at the karaoke bar, I didn’t treasure sleep. As counterpoint to that, any time I GOT UP EARLY- (GASP!) I didn’t treasure sleep!

To be SUPER DUPER CRYSTAL clear, I don’t regret any of that, it’s led to AMAZINGLY deep and important friendships and a lot of laughter.. You know the kind where you can’t breathe for a second.. yep, that’s the one. But, I do wish I had slept a little more… just a little.

I can assure you that within the last two months, I have truly treasured any and all sleep I can get. Sometimes it’s as little as ten minutes, and sometimes when I am TRULY blessed my husband will take over and I get four hours.. It’s glorious to feel that relief come over me as I can truly relax and go to sleep and not “be listening and waiting for her to wake up” because he is on duty.. (thanks Dad!). I wake up so refreshed and feeling brand new, shiny and sparkly –I really don’t have words to describe it, it’s downright miraculous!

I was reminded of how precious this thing we call sleep is and how much I neglected to treasure it because yesterday I didn’t get any sleep at all, because our darling daughter did not go to sleep (as she usually does at her normal time haha) I am rapidly learning, she has her own schedule and Mommy is adapting.. since there is not a way to rationally discuss this with a 2 month old. It’s one thing to talk about this stuff BEFORE the baby gets here.. and quite another to do it when the child is crying and nothing you do settles her enough to sleep..or nothing worse than when you put her down in the crib thinking she is OUT and literally 2 minutes later..Guess what? .. she is COMPLETELY AWAKE.  Blissfully, she is sleeping now, and I am about to go SLEEP…..

Sweet, lovely, neglected sleep, can you ever forgive me for not treasuring you as I do now? One day, far into the future, I will have this conversation with my daughter, and hopefully she can have a better relationship with you than I have and in the meantime, I plan to make amends and NEVER take you for granted again.. EVER.

If you have the chance to sleep, I sincerely hope you take it! 🙂

Think about it!


What debt freedom means to our family



Dear Readers,

Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” plays over speakers as I contemplate what to order for my first solo breakfast since I had my daughter 7 weeks ago. It’s a reminder of the upcoming concert I will attend in December. More exciting to think today also marks one YEAR of debt freedom. So you could say it’s our Debt Free Birthday….. at least that is what I am calling it.

You may not be familiar with this term but it’s something I am starting… birthday, anniversary.. all of these are very important dates but this one marks the day my husband and I became debt free because we made our final payment to his car. It’s easy to look back and say, that was easy .. Oh, but it wasn’t.. we had fights about money and up tempo discussions leading to eventually very calm budget meetings about money.. we both worked extra jobs (at one point we both worked at Applebees, him as a server, me as a hostess)  and said no to going out to eat and trips and outings we wanted to take part in, but you know it was completely worth it.. you want to know one of the reasons why?

We were about two months away from making our final payment when I saw Billy Joel tickets go on sale. You need to know, I am a BIG fan. I love all his songs, even the classical music stuff he put out during the later years of his career. In fact, I may or may not have planned to have him play at our wedding but sadly our $4,600.00 wedding budget did not cover his fee. So I was really excited he was in concert and just 3 hours away. Part of budgeting our money means discussing anything we purchase over 50.00 and we were soooooooooooooooooooooo close to being done with all the debt payments.. FOREVER, (200.00 AWAY IN FACT) I thought.. what is the harm, so I brought it to the table as a possible option. Jeremy and I discussed it and we eventually decided this was a great time to practice “delayed gratification” and he very memorably said, you know what it’s going to come around again and this time you will be able to fully enjoy it and not worry about being short a payment before we were done paying everything off. (yes I know, first world problem for sure.. but hey, it’s my blog so I get to talk about what I want to talk about)

So for me, It was a bitter pill to swallow..  Then…

Now a year later, there are so many rewards to celebrate about our debt freedom since it manifests itself is small ways every day.. but here are a few highlights-

  • After wanting a dog for over 6 years, we rescued one because we could AFFORD it
  • We budget and we think about money, but we no longer WORRY about money
  • We don’t have monthly payments except rent and utilities
  • We can be generous with our money and time
  • The accomplishment of a MAJOR goal which strengthens our bond as a couple
  • We can give to causes that matter to us

but they all pale in comparison to this…

The most rewarding thing about debt freedom is that my husband is going to stay home and take care of our daughter when I go back to work in the new year.

When I got pregnant, we started talking about what we would do for child care- We started doing the math and figured out that it just made sense economically and emotionally. I am OVERJOYED that our daughter will get to be with her Daddy during this crucial time of development and bonding.

Can I tell you this wasn’t even on our radar last year when we got out of debt, because there wasn’t a baby yet or even on the way. We were delighted to find ourselves pregnant and expecting a beautiful baby girl after our miscarriage in March of last year.

But now, we have a beautiful baby girl who we love and want to give her the best life possible but that doesn’t mean give her everything she asks for.. (no brats on board, thank you very much!) but then again, we have already set ourselves up to give her the best gift. She will NEVER know the scourge of debt and to me that is best gift that we could EVER give her. I am thankful to God, because there were so many things that happened along the way that could only be pointed to as God-given. He blessed us in many ways including great friends in the journey along the way. I hope and pray we get to pay it forward to others.

Am I bragging?  you bet your sweet fanny I am- We worked HARD and yes we had help but it was not easy so I don’t want to give you that impression. I am ALSO telling you this story because I think it can be applied to any major goal.. your health, your job, your (fill in the blank) and it takes determination and hard work and a lot of prayer not to mention flexibility because things so often do not go to plan. I suggest if you are working towards a Big Hairy Audacious Goal that you enlist some help and ask for advice from experts.

Yep, I said it.  Ask for advice because to accomplish something big you will need help.

Think About It….


Your vote is your voice…

Dear Readers, voteI sit here at 6:19 am listening to the grunts and gurgles that indicate my six week old daughter is starting to wake up, but not quite so that gives me a few minutes (time is precious) to tell you my thoughts on this.. Election Day. As someone who writes and speaks to help others make their dreams a reality, one of the hallmarks of my coaching is that “no one has a voice like you”.. Put in simpler terms, your words, your inflection, your story.. no one else can tell your STORY but you. For example, I can talk about having no political leanings at all for a really long time, and only after educating myself on the issues in this election do I KNOW where I stand.

I have heard a LOT of people rail against the idea of voting at all .. third party candidate can’t possibly win so why would you “waste” your vote that way. Not to mention, some comment I read.. “only suckers vote on election day”.. well no, the only suckers out there are the ones who aren’t voting though they have the right.

So what am I saying? I think it’s pretty clear. Go Vote! We may not agree on who you should vote for, but I think we can all agree you should vote. Why else would I be leaving my daughter with her daddy so I can go vote this morning. Yep, I should have early voted, but I will happily stand in lines today to exercise my right as an American to vote. I am REALLY not proud of the following confession but before this election, I didn’t really APPRECIATE what it is to vote, the privilege and the duty (that is more my husband (who is as patriotic as they come) – but given the fact that the two of us have recently brought a human into this world, I feel a stronger duty to be informed and exercise every right I have.

I  fervently hope we make history today by electing a qualified and worthy presidential candidate, but at the end of the day, I want to be sure the most important thing is that you voted and lifted your VOICE to share with the world, your CHOICE, whether I agree with you or not. I am put in mind of a great line from “The American President” (thank you Aaron Sorkin for helping me put this in the best way I can) that illustrates this beautifully.

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”

THINK ABOUT IT.. but more importantly, go VOTE!




The difference between advice and venting…

Dear Readers, I find it on my heart today to talk to you about advice and venting.

When a friend reaches out to talk to you, don’t make my mistake… “they are asking me about their issues, so OF COURSE they want my advice”…

I have, in the past, offered unsolicited advice and realized too late.. they just wanted to vent.. an that gets awkward.. super fast..

It was then that I realized, sometimes people want to vent, and are NOT looking for advice, in that instance, your job is to listen and be a shoulder. Sometimes they want advice. More often, they want to vent, and don’t want your opinion or advice. I have found it’s just easier to ask, “do you want my advice or do you want to vent” and it’s REALLY hard for me to WAIT and LISTEN to the answer but I am working on it. I am CHOCK FULL OF ADVICE!! I mean, let’s face it, I am a career coach so I have advice on how to fix your resume, how to get that job, how to lose weight and how to fix your finances all yours for the taking.. but the crucial thing is, to know when to dole out advice and when to shut up and listen.

Sometimes the answer is both or I am not really sure yet. All acceptable and great ways of setting a boundary.