Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

.I was going through some old papers when I stumbled upon a small notebook we’ve had for years. I opened it and flipped through the pages to see our newlywed budget from nearly 14 years ago.

My husband had an athletic scholarship for so we had a huge discount on rent, and we tried to be as frugal as we could in other ways.

from humble beginnings to dream home: interracial couple newlyweds

Even back then we were extremely aware of money. Not that we had a lot, or much at all. But we were careful not to spend more than we had, and to save what we could. Even if that was just a few dollars a month.

We would separate our money from each budget category and put the cash for the month into an envelope. When money for food was gone it was gone, and we had to eat what was already in the house until the budget reset the next month.

I created a regular meal plan for us to make sure we stayed under budget. There was Sonic 5 burgers for $5 night. We split that third burger, and we rarely splurged on fries.

There was $5 pizza night. And we ate a lot of ramen noodles and grilled cheese.

At the end of the month whatever was left over we could use as fun money, or save.

I remember being so excited when I’d saved enough to buy us our first couch–A futon from the local thrift store. It was no more than $40.

The first automatic payment I set up was to ourselves… A $75 auto draft from our checking account to our savings account. We still have it set up to this day.

Though we no longer use envelopes, and our food budget is much larger than $150, we’ve continued to live by the same disciplines for years. Living below what we make. Saving everything we can.

I think part of that had to do with having a scarcity complex.–Being so worried we would run out of money.

When we transferred schools, lost our rent discount and were both finishing school. We applied for any job we could get, and we were excited when we both got on campus jobs as custodians. Excited to earn on the “higher end of pay”–Something like $7/hr. We earned and saved extra money by donating blood plasma on a regular basis–Two to three times a week, or as much as they allowed. The cookies and juice at the plasma center were a midday meal I looked forward to.

How a leap of faith brought us together and made me believe some things may be fate.

There were times where both of us had jobs, just one of us had a job, and for some scary moments when neither of us were working.

We learned to live extremely conservatively. And as our salaries increased, our lifestyle, for the most part, stayed the same.

Afraid that something could go wrong and we may not always be able to afford a car payment, we saved and paid cash for our cars (except one time, and after that we said never again).

We use credit cards for rewards points but pay them off every single month. And we try our best to live off one income, and save the other.

Discipline is doing what you want. Even when you don't want to. Click To Tweet

When I set out for the goal of finding our dream home I was dumbstruck by the prices of what we wanted. It seemed unwise to set a goal so high. Especially when we were used to spending so much less. And I didn’t want to be “house poor.”–Where we’re barely able to afford our home, much less anything else to go with it.

But I thought what if we saved enough to pay for a lot of it up front… That would change everything.

Our payments would be comfortable.  And we’d prove to ourselves that we are able to afford our dream and continue to live off similar monthly bills.

We were paying extra on our current home, and those extra payments, along with fees on another property (we’ve since sold) add up to a similar monthly expense.

I did a lot of math and discovered that saving to put half down would be that magic number. To upgrade our home but not our bills.

Now we’re less than three weeks away from closing. Almost across the finish line. We will spend one last Christmas in our beautiful house where we’ve made a home, then ring in a new year at our new place.

It still doesn’t feel real. I don’t know if that feeling will hit once we sign on the dotted line, or when the moving truck pulls away. But those cute college students who split a third cheeseburger every Monday night have gone so much further than I’d ever dreamed. And I’m so proud of them.

10 years ago I had a crazy idea to start a blog and here I am, still going.

It’s my 10 year blogiversary and I was thinking of all the ways I should celebrate. Maybe a giveaway, a roundup of my favorite posts, or tips for starting your own blog. Those posts may still come later, but my friend LaShawn recently wrote 5 lessons she’s learned since starting to blog full time this year and I thought YES! That’s it! I’ll share 10 blogging lessons I’ve learned after 10 years of doing this thing.

One thing I want to do is be a bit more transparent here about the business side of things. It’s pretty obvious at this point that this avenue is how I  support my family, but I don’t talk much about what goes on behind the scenes from a work perspective.

When I started making this list it got long fast. But I really wanted to narrow it down to my 10 best lessons. So some things got cut and some are practically 3 squeezed into one. But still, It’ll be great. Here we go!

1. You are an original

When I started my blog and for years I was so concerned with trying to have a unique angle. At first it was being a mom blogger before having a baby. But once I had a baby I worried if be just like everyone else and no one would want to read my blog because I was no longer unique. I was so wrong. No one has your voice. Your exact thoughts or opinions and personality. Your spin, your touch. Even if your niche feels over-saturated, take pride in knowing you are the only you that has or will ever live. And you have something to say.

2. We can make an impact

For years and years I rambled here without an intention to do much more than journal about my life. But the more I opened up about things that are really important to me, the more I realized I could make an impact. I shared about my news station cutting a segment to get foster kids adopted and another local station got word about my post and and I was able to help them get it restarted with them. We’ve raised money for nonprofits, and inspired people to make big changes in their lives.

I’ve written about pulling my kids out of public school, politics and racism, discovering my daughter is dyslexic, the challenges of being an officer’s wife, putting my kids back in public school, and and and… Being vulnerable is scary, and for me, being courageous enough to intentionally be a leader is scary. But sometimes opening up about a tough topic, and stepping up is the most valuable thing we can share. And something that can really help someone else.

3. Value everyone who takes time to reach out

I am so thankful for each and every one of my readers. Especially the ones who take time to leave a comment here or on Facebook, or reply to me on YouTube or Twitter or slide into my Instagram DMs. I try to take time and reply to each one. Sometimes it takes WAY longer than I mean to, but I eventually get back to everyone. Blog comments are much more scarce these days, and a lot of bloggers are turning them off all together. I like leaving them open in case a post, no matter how old, inspires someone to say something too. And I value each and every one. I know time is a very rare and limited resource and I can’t thank you enough for spending some of yours here with me.

4. I can’t make everyone happy

I’m the kind of person who feels really bad when I accidentally cut someone off and they flip me off then drive around me all angry. I want to chase them down and apologize and tell them I’m not a jerk. I’ve tiptoed around and avoided a lot of topics for fear of saying something wrong that could upset people or make people dislike me.

But the longer I have blogged the more I’ve realized I can’t make everyone happy, and not everyone is going to like me. Some people may even dislike me. And while I will never understand how anyone could do that, I am learning to be ok with that. And learning that it’s not always about me. Sometimes it’s about them, and some people are always going to find a reason to be upset. What’s important is the intention behind my words. It’s up to the receiver to decide how to feel. And it’s up to me to stand in my truth.

5. There is no roadmap to success

In my journalism career it was easy to pinpoint role models and potential mentors and try to follow a similar path, but in the blogging and social media world it’s entirely different. This industry is absolutely incredible. But there’s no roadmap to success. The potential is limitless.

I’m amazed at the unique blogs, YouTube channels and Instagram accounts there are out there. A self-proclaimed expert at comic books? Tell the world about it! Tried a hundred gluten-free Instapot recipes and you know which ones suck and which ones are great? Talk about it!

To some people their end-goal is a book deal. For others it’s making a six or seven-figure income. Others still may want to go to a Disney movie premiere, or take an all-expense paid trip with their family.

Each person is going to have a different idea of what success looks like to them. And anyone can truly take any topic, run with it, make their own business, and even make a killing. There’s so much power in social media.

I would have never guessed opportunities through my blog would have allowed me to meet Oprah, travel to Israel, and save enough to build my dream home. I’m now brewing up new dreams and I’m excited to see where this road will continue to lead me. But there’s no real “on top,” it is what you make of it. And the sky’s the limit.

6. I’m not competing with anyone but myself

I’ve met some of my best friends through blogging and I love cheering them on. Sharing each other’s work, commenting on each other’s good news, or hitting that like button to support each other does nothing to hurt me. It’s like that saying: A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. And the better we do as an industry as a whole, the better we all do.

I love collaborating! This year, with the baby, I’ve mostly kept to myself and done less travel but I’m an extremely social person and I hope to do more blogger and social media collaborations in the future.

The blogging community is truly remarkable and I’ve loved connecting with people from all over the world and meeting them at conferences. You can become friends with anyone from anywhere and some of my best friends I haven’t even met face to face yet.

7. Choose quality over quantity 

When I first started my blog I wrote every. single. day. Sunday through Saturday. Back then it worked. Now I post here Monday, Wednesday and Friday (more on Instagram and Facebook) and I’m focusing more on the quality of my work. Investing in a good camera, and learning how to use it made a big difference for me. I put my heart into every post sponsored or not and really try to tell a story in each one. Even more so, a story with an important takeaway. I know this type of storytelling and the images bring value that isn’t easy to replicate. I’m amazed at some of the opportunities that have come our way because of this space. It pays to stay true to who you are.

8. It’s never too late to pivot. And pivot and pivot

I can’t tell you how many times this blog has taken a shift. From the Baby Making Machine being off, then on, then completely ditching it all together. I was so worried that rebranding would crush what I had built but it wasn’t the case at all. There are some “ah ha!” moments when people stumble upon my page who haven’t seen it in their feeds in awhile. I even started just going by my full name on most of my social media channels because my name will always stay consistent.

On YouTube, my channel has been ALL over the place. I’ve done travel, tips and tricks, and quick well-edited videos. When a vlog I did with Lil’ J about trying out for all-star cheer took off I realized we were onto something. Since then my YouTube channel has become a mommy-daughter video space and I love it.

Whether you’re changing topics or a name, pivoting is a-ok, the commonality is YOU.

9. You can do it all, but not all at the same time

Business wise, the biggest change for me came when I admitted that I couldn’t do everything myself. I called myself a control freak. And I was worried about spending too much but that saying it takes money to make money really rang true for me. And the book I’m a Badass at Making Money really helped me kick the scarcity complex and get in the right mindset. I learned to invest in my business. I hired an amazing woman to help me with the business side of things, and others to help with scheduling while I focus on the stuff I love: Writing and photography.

Once I started treating it all like a business, keeping a schedule, hiring help, learning photography (check out my course), getting better hosting, they all added up to be a good investment.

10. Hobby? Job? It can be both

10 years ago my dream job was to be working at WSB or CNN in Atlanta as a prime time anchor. Now? This is hands down SO much better. I’m still doing what I love: Writing, telling stories, and making a difference while spending time with my young children. What started as a random hobby to brain dump after work has turned into a quirky business I love it so much. I never thought I’d make a dollar from it. Much less pay my bills.

That said, it’s still a job. This is how I get work done most days lately. Rocking a baby to sleep and working at the kitchen counter. There are days I’m overwhelmed, frustrated with clients, or up working way too late. And times I put my heart into my work only to have it chopped to pieces or have to start over. There are weeks I’m too tired to post anything on Instagram other than the sponsored posts I’m contracted to share. It’s still work. But I love what I do and feel incredibly blessed to have a job that feels like work and play.

It’s been a long road but ten years has flown by. I’m constantly thinking of ways I can make this little space of mine even better than the last year. I know so many of you have been with me for years and years and others have recently discovered my site. I want to continue to evolve with you, and I am excited to see what we can do with another 10 years.

If you’ve been thinking of starting a blog I’d say go for it. Just start writing. Hopefully the lessons I’ve learned the long way can help give you a good head start.

I’m thinking I’ll do a Facebook live video talking about this and sharing some tips for beginning bloggers. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to know!

I was 16 years old and on stage for the Miss Jr. Teen Georgia pageant. I wore a borrowed white evening gown in front of hundreds of people.

I don’t remember what my question was during the interview portion of the pageant, I don’t even remember what the judging categories were. But I do remember the emcee saying something that changed everything for me.

He presented the reigning queen and spoke of her accomplishments. Among them was she had earned enough scholarships to pay for her entire college education.

I stood awestruck. I had recently discovered that my parents didn’t have a secret nest egg they were waiting to give me upon graduation. No, they told me they expected to me to go to college but I’d have to get loans to pay for it.

Here I was, watching a girl who had accomplished something HUGE. I had just one thought…

I am going to do that.

Hadn’t a clue how, but I set my sights on earning a full scholarship. Or cumulative scholarships to pay for all of my tuition.

A couple of years later I went to college and did that. It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t come on its own. In fact, in the beginning I did have to take out some loans. But I quickly paid them off with scholarships. And by my junior year I was awarded enough scholarship money to pay for all of my college tuition, my books, and even living expenses.

That experience taught me that there are no limits as to what I can achieve. So why should I put any on myself?

Earlier this year I had to remind myself of this realization as I’d been shoving another dream aside.

I dreamed of having a huge yard my kids could play in, trees they could climb, and a place we could explore. Any time this vision came to my mind I’d make excuses for why it would never happen: It would be too expensive, I’d never get my husband to agree to move, I should just be happy where we are.

And I WAS happy, and grateful, and totally fine staying put. But I wanted to allow myself to dream bigger.

I made my husband an offer he couldn’t refuse. A seemingly impossible offer.

“If I save enough money to put 50% down on my dream house, can we do it?”

He knew better than to just laugh and brush me off. We’ve been married nearly 14 years and he knows how unstoppable I can be when I put my mind to something. So he thought for a moment about what he was agreeing to.

“If you save enough to put half down, we sell our condo, and we have a three car garage,” he said.

Done.

I got to work putting calls in to find a realtor who could help sell our condo in Utah. We bought 11 years ago, right before the housing market crash. And held on to it because we had to. It had been draining our energy and money for years.

Within a month and a half I had given our tenants notice, had them moved out and had it sold to a cash buyer. Our realtor had it under contract and off our hands in about 11 days.

By this time I had already been searching for the perfect house. Four bedrooms, an office and a playroom upstairs. Trees, and lots of space in the backyard. I went to bed picturing it. Woke up dreaming about it. And prayed to be led to the right home for us.

We didn’t see any exactly right so we decided to build one.

We are getting an acre more than I imagined, a few extra perks inside and the three car garage I promised my husband.

The final piece of the puzzle was the savings. I hired new people on to my business this year which was at first terrifying, but wound up being the most brilliant thing I’ve done in a long time. We buckled down on budget, cut back where we could, and I worked my tail off. I secluded myself a bit so I could stay focused. I turned off my Facebook news feed, put groups on silent and really centered myself around my family, my business and my goals. It was important not to get distracted by what other people were doing or what people thought I should be doing.

I also made a point to tell this goal to a couple of close friends. People who wouldn’t laugh and shrug it off, or try to stomp on my dreams. But would smile, cheer me on and fuel me with more of their own motivation.

As promised I’ve finally, just barely, but still… definitely have, saved enough to pay for half of my dream house up front. Before selling our current house. Two months out from closing we are still discussing IF that’s what we want to do, or if we will allocate some of those funds in other ways. But I still held up my end of the bargain. Made it happen. I told myself I could do it, worked  my tail off. And I’ve done it.

Don’t squander your own dreams. Don’t get in your own way. Go after that thing you’ve been putting off. You can do it.

dream house

Ok, I know you’re probably tired of hearing about this by now. I promise not to go on and on. You can read all about the Oprah experience here and here. But what I need to vent about today is the aftermath from the experience. The elated “I can do anything” feeling, now that I’ve crossed a biggie off of my dream board.

The next day I was in a hotel room with a couple of friends discussing some dreams and plans for the future. When one of them casually mentioned her land in Florida my ears perked up and I swooned.

We have a beautiful home in a great location and I love it. I was totally ok with chilling here until retirement even though our yard is teeny tiny and the view out of our side windows is the brick of our neighbors homes. I am still ok with it. Even with a new baby, we have enough space and everything we need. But lately I’ve been thinking “what if…?” What if I could have what we want? 

If anything was possible what kind of home would I want to live and raise our kids in? Would I have given up on my dream to have an acre lot with oak trees and plenty of space for our kids to run, explore and play in our own backyard? Now that we’re starting over again, we’ve reset the clock on early parenthood. What do I really want?

My goal? I don’t want a big house. Actually a place about the same size as ours (about 2000 sqf) would be perfect. If I could pick this place we built four years ago up and plant it in a different spot with a bunch of oak and fruit trees (and add a detached third car garage) I’d be pretty thrilled. And if the timing is right I’d also love to keep our current home as a rental.

So there’s that. The idea is in my head. The seed has been planted. I’ve got my eye on a prize and it’ll be hard to back down at this point. I’ve been driving around neighborhoods, snapping photos like a stalker and bookmarking previously sold listings (the perfect house isn’t for sale yet). I’m looking around at items in my house that I could get rid of so we have less to pack when it’s time to move. And I may or may not have already had a conversation with a realtor.  I’m motivated to work my tail off with this goal in mind. My daughter has even gotten in on it. She requested to come along on a ride with me to browse homes and oooh’d and ahhh’d the whole time at the prospect of a new adventure.

What does my husband think about all of this? Oh, good question.He mentioned putting a picture of our current home on his vision board, along with a photo of land with a big X through it. He’s not enthused or amused. He never wants to move. At least not until retirement. He has a pretty plush man cave and he’s comfortable. But I told him about my plans and he knows how I am once I set my sights on a goal. I’m a determined woman on a mission.

I absolutely love our home. And I believe in the importance in being grateful for what you have. I’d be be fine if we stayed here. But I also know there’s room for aspirations and growth. And when you’ve just met Oprah, by golly, no wonder if you feel like you can take on the world.

Today I want to talk about trust. Specifically trusting your gut and the fact that when one door closes a another will open.

First, I’m going to ask you to do me a favor and head over to Canon’s website. Their front page is fine. Go ahead, I’ll wait here until you come back.

Did you see that? Crazy right?

They asked me to write up a little piece for a feature but I didn’t realize it was this kind of feature, as in, on their front page.

Now let me back up a bit. You probably remember when I wrote this post about my journalism career ending. I was upset about the new leadership at my former news station cutting an important news segment featuring foster kids. Well I didn’t get around to updating you on what happened since then.

A day after that post went live I was on the phone with the assistant news director at CBS Austin. He’d read my post, thanks to my former assistant news director sharing it on his page, and they wanted to pick up Forever Families! It didn’t work out for me to do the segment myself but I was more than happy to make introductions between Partnerships for Children–The nonprofit coordinating the shoots for the children, and the news station.

I was so happy the kids would still have their weekly spotlight on TV but it was still really really hard to let that part of my life go. To officially take my foot out of that journalism door and let it close behind me. I never won an Emmy, or got my own morning show. A part of me was totally heartbroken, but what followed was truly a testament to me that when one door closes another will always open. Or in my case, a window.

I always thought my difficult decision about my career would would hinge on whether or not I wanted to be home with my kids, or working at a news station. ‘My children would be the big deciding factor’, I thought. Never did I dream that I could do both, or more. And I kept blinders on to the possibility that I could ever want to do anything else.

I started this blog nine years ago (I really should go back and delete some of those early posts but whatevs! It’s all about of the journey right?). It wasn’t until this year–A few months ago–About the same time I stopped working as a part-time reporter, that I started looking at my blog more like a career. And seriously guys…with the taxes and fees I pay to keep this thing running, it’s been a business for a while. I just didn’t want to see it that way because I thought work shouldn’t be as fun as this was. And thinking about my blog as work would make blogging less fun.

In May I went to a blogging conference called Mom 2.0. I spoke on a panel and was nominated for two Iris awards, which is kind of like an Emmy in blog terms. I was hopeful but not expecting to win either and I walked away with the Best Photography award. That was an exciting and eye-opening moment for me where I realized this little craft of mine was outside the realm of my dreams. And I needed to start dreaming bigger.

Opportunities you just don’t pass up came my way. I made a photography course, shot a series with Disney, and I started homeschooling because I had the flexibility to work from home, travel, and make our own schedule by running my own business. Despite all this in front of me, it was hard to admit that my blog was more than a hobby. It dawned on me that one dream was holding me back from another.

This door on my journalism career closing was the final straw. I had to realize wasn’t a failure for giving up on a lifelong dream (that’s really what being a news anchor and reporter was for me–A plan I’d had since childhood). I was brave enough to realize dreams can change. And it’s never too late to go for a new one.

I’m finally embracing my blog as a real thing and an aspect of my new dream. It’s not as definitive or easy to explain as my previous one, but it’s allowing me to do the things I love: Spend time with my kids, write, travel, practice photography and hopefully make a difference. All while supporting my family. I never could have imagined this would be possible or where I’d wind up. Why not?

A couple of years ago I read a book called the 7 Mindsets. In it there’s an analogy about the window of opportunity. It says when we’re born the window of opportunity and what we see as possible is wide open. As we grow up it gets smaller and smaller based on our experiences. When we realize we can’t fly, or we’re shot down on a date, that window closes a little bit. Each time someone shoots down our ideas or goals it slides down even more. By the time we graduate school what we see as the window of opportunity is only a fraction of the size from when it began.

One door closed for me, but I’m blowing that window open again. And I’m loving what I’m seeing on the other side.

I have so many ideas, plans and goals for my little corner of the internet. I want to feature the foster kids I once highlighted on TV here online. I’d love to bring more unheard stories shattering misconceptions about law enforcement families and black lives matter. I’d love to focus on shining a little beacon of light through these gloomy days.

We can’t let our doubts and lack of faith keep us from our potential.

What are you dreaming about? What is holding you back? Time? Fear? Doubt? A different plan you’ve been afraid to let go of? Don’t let those things keep you from being who you’re suppose to be, and doing what you’re meant to do. Take that leap you’ve been considering, and trust what’s on the other side.

It’s something else isn’t it? Watching something you made–Or at least grew and gave birth to, grow into a person with a personality, thoughts and opinions of their own. Of course this is gradual. I mean it starts when they’re babies and shove away the peas on a spoon. Then it evolves into requests for a certain book, song, or TV show. Then maybe a favorite dress, or pair of shoes. And then before you know it their requests and passions are dictating your schedule.

Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person. Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person.

My daughter first started gymnastics about three years ago. She was just a toddler and participated in a mother’s morning out program with gymnastics twice a week. It was obvious she had no natural talent so I did what any irrational wannabe-tiger-parent would do and signed her up for an entirely different activity. This time it was dance: Ballet, tap, jazz and then a hip hop class on the side.

That was fun. We enjoyed it, but after a couple of years I got tired of hunting down the lost tap shoe minutes before class started. And days and days of recitals (and recital fees) so we decided to hang up the tutus. She didn’t object, or put up any sort of fight. In fact she was happy with her art class and we were starting homeschool. We didn’t have time for much else.

biracial-ballerina-2

Fall hit and that meant football. A lot of football. Every year for the games Lil’ J gets decked out in team spirit with pom poms, jerseys and/or cheer outfits. She roots and chants little cheers I remember from high school.

On the vision board she made last year she has a photo of the BYU cheerleading squad. Apparently this is a dream of hers. I say apparently because I know her mind can change and even if not, it’ll be a stretch but HEY… I’m not ever one to knock down someone from their big dreams.

BYU Fangirl

We signed her up for some trial tumbling classes and though she was admittedly not very good, she still wanted to go each week. As an early Christmas gift we bought her a couple months of private lessons for her to work on her technique.

Week after week I’d watch and cringe as she’d stumble out of a cartwheel, or botch a handstand.

“Is it even worth keeping this up if they aren’t any good? I mean how much time do you give someone?” I’d say to my husband. I mean we know she wasn’t born with a natural ability and that’s ok. I believe with hard work, anything is possible. But how long do you let the delusion go on?

“She’s a kid!” My husband would say to me. “Only 6! She doesn’t need to be good, she just needs to have fun.”

He’s always coming at me with sense and stuff.

Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person.

I decided to back off a bit. Not that I was saying any of these things to her–This was me just internalizing and ranting to my husband. But I chilled out and just encouraged her. I offered to help her practice, take pictures or record her if she wanted. I’d stay after and ask her coach if there was anything we could work on between lessons.

I don’t know exactly what happened. It seems like one day I was begging her to practice and the next she didn’t want to stop. She walks into lessons ready to listen and learn and try her best. She asks me to text her coach with updates on her progress at home. She can hold a handstand and do a backbend with ease. She’s surpassed any gymnastics talent I’ve ever had, and with hard work, she’s actually getting pretty good.

And she’s set some goals of her own. I’m still working on my 2017 goals but she has her list set. She wants to eat healthier, work out with daddy and get her back and front walkover (by her birthday in July). I don’t think that will be a problem for her.

BYU family superfans

Who is this person? This person who once did backflips in my uterus. This little 6-year-old who has not only opinions but dreams and goals.

She is my child, emerging as her own person.

 

{Lil’ J is 6 years and 6 months old at the time of this post.}

Helping kids grow into their personalities.

Just yesterday, we walked inside the home of our new piano teacher and she guided us to her piano room.

My daughter, Lil’ J was just excited as I was, though you could visibly see her thrill radiating off of her. I kept mine a little more contained.

Searching for a piano teacher wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. In Utah everyone seemed to know how to play piano, or teach piano. I thought when it came time to learn I’d easily find someone at my church who taught. But my requests were met with crickets.

Finally I asked where people learned piano, since quite a few people had their kids learning. A few people recommended the same woman so I contacted her right away. She had a waiting list. But I was find waiting.

Meanwhile I reached out in my homeschooling groups to see where else people took piano lessons and got a few more leads but none that panned out.

Our names came up from the waiting list after just a few weeks and I was so excited I asked if we could start that next day.

So there we were, my daughter at the piano learning how to sit and recognize the difference between low and high keys, long and short notes. Every now and then I had to remind her to listen carefully to instructions but overall she did fine. Let’s be honest though, bringing her there for lessons was really just a ruse to get my foot in the door for my own lesson. I finally stuck the goal on my dream board to achieve in my 30s.

My daughter’s half hour was up and it was my turn. At this point it was hard for me to keep my excitement contained. Our teacher was honest and told me she’d never taught an adult before, so she wasn’t sure how long she’d be able to keep me as a student. The oldest person she’d taught was a teen.

“Well I’m a teen at heart!” I wanted to say. But instead I said I had to start somewhere. I explained my understanding of music, my hazy recollection of reading notes, but my basic knowledge of the music language thanks to my experience playing the oboe.

I felt a little bit dorky following the instructions she’d just given to my daughter a few minutes before. Back straight, wrists relaxed… But I was finally getting started on a goal I’ve had for many many years–Learning piano.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down at a piano, looked at my hands and cursed them for not understanding how to play. Then wondering if perhaps some innate natural ability would come out of me if I only tried…

Nope.

So my prodigy dream was dead. But hey, we can’t all be Beethoven.

I invested in a few apps and YouTube videos but never did my best at follow through. I’ve been so angry with myself for not starting earlier.–When I was younger, had more brainpower and time. Wishing I had asked my parents for piano lessons instead of cheerleading uniforms. Kicking myself for not investing in this talent before I had kids so maybe I could teach them myself. Maybe I could have been great.

So many shoulda coulda wouldas.

But you know what? It is never too late to be what you might have been.

So here I was, at my first real lesson playing Mary Had a Little Lamb.

YAAASSSSSSSS!

My teacher said next week she’d have an adult book for me to work from, and that after a while we’d probably be learning together.

I don’t care how many nursery rhymes I have to play, if I’m using both my hands and all my fingers, I’m on a roll as far as I’m concerned.

Let this be an example to anyone who thinks they are too old, or don’t have the time, or has been investing in their children’s development and not their own. Last year I danced on stage at a dance recital between a performance of 5-year-olds ok? I take this challenging myself thing seriously.

I’ll leave you with a cute quote I found and love that describes this life event perfectly:

“It’s never too late to start something new. To do all the things you’ve been longing to do.” – Dallas Clayton

learning-piano-start-something-new

Now to buy a keyboard!

piano lessons at 30. It's never too late to learn a new talent.


It’s getting less bitter and more sweet seeing where this next stage of my family life is heading. I’m past debating more babies, past pregnancy, and ready to help make these babies into good people who will do big things with their lives.

I’m not trying to rush them, but as my kids get older I’m sad to see a couple things go, and so excited for some new adventures ahead.

Biracial kids siblings love

First of all, I’m excited for more traveling. And I don’t just mean traveling for Disney vacations. Though I love them, I really can’t wait to visit other places with my family: D.C. and New Orleans are at the top of our lists (that is my and Lil’ J’s list, the hubs isn’t very much into traveling.) I would love to take my kids around the world. I want to go places without them too, but I think it would be so fun to research countries and cultures, then learn first-hand through experience together.

A desire I think most parents can relate to: Less Mess! While tiny handprints on my walls and windows are endearing and precious while it lasts, I’m looking forward to tidier days. I am SO ready to say goodbye to stinky diaper pails. I thought I’d be done by now, but my son can’t seem to get over his fear of pooping in the potty and my husband can’t seem to buy enough Renzuit® air fresheners for my son’s room. The new Sensitive ScentsTM are great for stifling that diaper stink without overpowering with it’s own scent (also great for new babies for that reason). Though it’ll be nice not to have a poop stench to mask, we love the smell of the air fresheners so much we’ll keep them around. Besides, I’m sure there will be new smells to mask as our boy gets bigger.

Renuzit

Something I love now, but I think I’ll love even more as they get older is discovering who they are. It’s a miracle that I grew these little people who are becoming their own independent selves. I really look forward to watching their interests and passions blossom, and helping them discover their divine nature. Who they’re meant to be.

biracial kids

Though I’m looking forward to doing more reading and not feeling guilty for going out on girls’ nights or date nights with my husband, I am going to miss this stage too. I’m going to miss how cute and cuddly they are. That probably sounds strange, but my kids are both extremely snuggly and I LOVE it. From birth they’d curl up on me and have the sweetest baby smell. They don’t smell like babies any more but I still just love soaking in the smell of their hair and kissing their soft skin. Do teenagers like to cuddle with their moms? I sure hope so, because I can picture myself crying when my big kids no longer want to snuggle with me on the couch.

grabbing-mommys-legs

So sticky floors, smelly rooms and children who need my love and attention will still be in my future. But I’m looking forward to exploring new places and making and achieving new dreams all together.

What are you looking forward to doing when your kids are older?

*I love reminiscing about the baby stage, and cherishing each parenting phase I’m in, which is why I partnered with Renuzit® with new sensitive products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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