Posts Tagged ‘goals’

When we got married 14 and a half years ago, I had less than $100 in my bank account. The car I drove was falling apart, but it had dang good gas mileage. We worked early morning custodial jobs at our university before class. We were love struck poor college kids with big dreams. 

14 years later we bought our dream home putting 51% down, and we have hopes to pay it off within 5 years. I’m sharing a bit more about our journey from point A to point B (more like A to J) in a series sponsored by John Hancock. John Hancock offers financial strategies for people. They can help you work out a plan for your future. It’s something that would have been so helpful for us early on. 

Over the years there are a handful of highlights to our story that I think got us here. 

Embracing our lack of wealth

Early on in our marriage we learned a lot through trial and error. We tried to be smart and we did our best to follow some of the financial rules that seemed most obvious. Such as avoid debt. Even if that meant postponing my big dream of having a fancy car. In fact, I had pictures of a Toyota Celica pinned to my cubicle to motivate me during one of my telesales jobs. I never wound up getting that dream car, or the next, but it was ok. My husband and I knew what was most important about our cars was that they were reliable, then that they had good gas mileage. 

Our kitchen set when we first got married was literally a cardboard box with two folding camping chairs we got as a wedding gift. Later we were gifted an old table from my husband’s grandparents and we were so thankful. 

We weren’t in a rush to have “nice things” during or right after college, but we hoped to get there eventually.

Living below our means

We barely made over minimum wage working between classes. It was like this for a good 3 years. One thing we did during this time was keep a strict budget and keep track of every little thing we spent money on. We put cash in an envelope for each spending category: Food, toiletries, entertainment and so on. Anything we had left over at the end of the month we could save or splurge. More often we saved. It wasn’t much at first; just a few dollars here and there. But eventually we were able to save more and more. As our incomes increased we tried to keep our expenses about the same. 

We continued to try to do this as much as we could through the years, eventually being able to live off of one income and mostly save the other. About four years into our marriage we bought our first home. A condo in a little town called Springville, UT. Everyone was talking about investing in real estate. The marker was booming and I was worried we wouldn’t be able to afford a place if we waited. Unfortunately we bought the place right before the market crash, then moved across the country to Austin, TX when I got a job as a reporter. We briefly tried to sell the condo with no luck, and instead decided to rent it out. 

Learning from our mistakes

You’d think this was a great investment but our rent didn’t even cove our mortgage. We spent years pouring money into that place and never wound up making enough to cover the mortgage + HOA fees each month. Not to mention repairs. To this day my husband says buying that place was our worst financial decision, and I think it’s made him adverse to moving and real estate purchases in general. 

Eventually things turned around and we were able to sell it before buying this home, adding a decent chunk to our savings that maybe almost covers everything we poured into it for 10 years.

Although we had no way of knowing the market would turn, I think that “bad” decision helped us make better ones going forward.

We also learned a lesson about buying cars the hard way. In college we made a decision to take out a loan for one of our cars right before I graduated college. We needed a reliable car so at the time it seemed like a smart decision but it took longer to pay off than we anticipated and we wound up paying way too much interest. Going forward we’ve always saved and paid cash for our cars. Never spending money on credit cards we didn’t intend to pay off at the end of the month. Continuing to live below our means in case one of us lost our jobs (which has also happened before).

Learning from others

Neither of us had wealthy parents or some fancy upbringing. In fact, we’re constantly in awe of how much more our kids have than we ever did. I remember my parents laughing when I asked how much was in my college savings account. It wasn’t something they were able to plan for. 

We’ve had to learn a lot as we go. As a wedding gift I believe, someone gave us a small book about financial wealth. Early on that helped us set our framework about the way we’d live. Thankfully we both agreed we’d do our best to stay out of debt and keep our expenses as low as possible. Over the years we’ve read some other books, and done our own research about money. But sometimes it’s really nice to just talk to someone. 

I recently had a chat with a John Hancock financial advisor and she was able to help me distinguish the difference between some things I’d been confused about, and after that conversation I was able to flush out some of my other financial goals for this year. 

New goals

First up I want to open a specific long-term savings account for each of my kids. They already have regular savings but I’d like to open some with higher yield returns. I still haven’t decided yet if these will be IRAs or 529 college savings plans (or both) but I plan to figure that out this year and do that. 

Next, I want to make sure my husband and I are maxing out our retirement accounts as best as we can. I remember taking a personal finance class in college and thinking I needed to open a retirement account ASAP. Unfortunately it took me awhile to get around to it, but I did do it before I turned 30. Now I want to make sure I contribute as much as I can this year. 

Finally, I have a goal to pay our one loan (this mortgage) off within 5 years. It’s ambitious but I think it’s possible. The main reason I’d like to do that is because property taxes here are really high. Almost mortgage high. Thing is I’d like to be able to comfortably pay it down by 1/5. Comfortably being the key word. We’ll see if we get there. 

I’m planning to keep you posted each month in this series. As well as share some things I’m learning along the way. 

I’d love to know what your goals are for this year or the future. Stating them out loud helps, and I’d love to be your sounding board. 

Let’s look past the fact that it’s the middle of February while we dive into the goals I have for 2019.

Last year I met my lifelong idol, we built and bought our dream home, and had a baby girl that turned out to be the stuff that dreams are made of.

I had the opportunity to partner with some of my favorite brands. The Oprah Winfrey Network invited me to be a part of their OWN TV Show, and I brought home the Blog of the Year Award at Mom 2.0.

Last year I had goals to save enough to put 50% down on our home, and otherwise survive the changes from having a newborn, moving, and transitioning back to public school. At the start of the year there was quite a bit of travel as well. Until I was too far along to fly comfortably. I survived, and had a better year than I expected.

This year my goals are simple. At my core I want to stay put. This isn’t my season to travel the world and I’m wholeheartedly ok with that. I see us settling into this home and our little piece of land. Learning about nature, and what we can about the world through books.

I want us to slowly conquer our fear of bugs, learn about snakes, and climb trees. I want to read and write and share my passions and lessons I’ve learned here.

So far I have just one trip planned: The kiddos, my mother-in-law and I are heading to Florida next month. If that’s the only time I board an airplane all year I won’t be sad about it. I’m waiving all notions of FOMO and leaning in to our little space.

Speaking of our space. I’m obsessed. Completely obsessed. And I’ll need to dedicate a whole other post about our new home and the yard makeover that’s been underway, and the trees we are naming etc etc. But just know that it’s likely 90% of my pictures this year will be taken in our new backyard.

I am an ambitious woman with go-getter tendencies. But this year I want to let a bit of that cool down and focus on evolving, leading and being present with my family.

I’m not big on resolutions but I’m huge on goals. Here are my goals for 2019. Broken down into categories.


Learn 5-7 meals I enjoy making and we enjoy cooking: Every time I’ve resolved to cook more I’ve failed terribly. I think part of that is because I make it a goal to cook a certain number of meals weekly. This time I’m aiming to find meals I enjoy making and setting no particular timeline surrounding that.

Find an enjoyable fitness routine: If there is such a thing.

Read for me: I want to dive into books on optimism, and run away to far away worlds. Enjoying reading for pleasure.

Learn 3 full piano songs: This will require a lot of practice but I want to make this happen.


Open IRAs for my kiddos: I recently opened savings accounts for them and I want to max out each of their IRAs this year.

Pay down our mortgage: By 1/5th!

Sell our other house: This actually should be at the top of my list.

Open a Solo 401k: Another retirement account I’ve been eying.


Publish an ebook

Create a product

Share more causes I care about


Summer (Home)school: Continuing our tradition for the third year.

Summer Camp: A first for my kids! Looking into one week of a nature camp.

I can’t commit to a word for the entire year but one I’m feeling a push towards right now is LEAD. And a phrase that comes to mind is Black Girl Magic.

I’m a little behind the curve on getting this going. And with a baby that still insist on waking me up a couple times a night I imagine it’ll be a while before I feel completely “myself” again. But I’m going to cherish the heck out of this year. And pray it’s a great one.

What are some of your goals for 2019?

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.


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.

I woke up about four hours before we were scheduled to leave for our interviews with the cast of A Wrinkle in Time. Four hours before we were to meet and interview The Oprah Winfrey.

I ordered room service so I could have breakfast in bed and gather my thoughts, but I had no appetite for food. It was all getting to me, and I was losing it. I FaceTimed with my husband and talked through my questions for two hours. Yes, two hours of writing and re-writing with a side of sudden crying fits.

“What’s going on?” He’d ask during an episode. “Are you ok?”

“I’m just so nervous,” I told him. “And probably hormonal.”

I’ve mentioned how this moment had been on my dream board for years, but I didn’t explain all it took to make this happen.

About two years ago I set a goal to do a Disney movie event. I originally had my sights set on Moana but a month after attending the premiere of The BFG, The Variety announced Oprah was cast for A Wrinkle in Time. I knew this would be my moment.

In actuality I didn’t really know FOR SURE she’d be an interview at this event. My husband guessed she was too big. But I knew I wanted to get in that room.

Let me tell you something. One thing you’ll hear Oprah explain a lot is her belief in “luck”. Luck doesn’t usually just come out of no where. It is the crossroads where preparation meets opportunity. You set a goal and do what you can. You work, prepare, get ready for the moment of opportunity to step in. And then you let go and be ready to receive it.

For two years, I worked toward this goal. I wrote movie reviews, attended specific events and wrote lots and lots of interviews and preview posts about TV shows and movies. It didn’t take over my blog or anything, but if you do a search you can see these sprinkled in here and there.–All with the hope that the chips would fall right where they should. And that I would get invited to this particular event, and that Oprah would decide to be a part of it.

Today was the day preparation was meeting an opportunity. It was all finally coming together. Yet I couldn’t keep my emotions together.

I cried and cried in my hotel room. I’m not really not one to cry much, but I couldn’t seem to turn off the water works. Would this be how it was when Oprah walked in the room?

Fast forward a few hours. We were at the W hotel, waiting for her to come in the room. I’d visualized this moment countless times. From the exact place I’d be sitting (front and center), down to when I’d ask a question.

Getting ready to interview Oprah Winfrey at Wrinkle in Time Event

I about jumped out of my skin when our Disney rep picked me to ask the first question, and at that point all I had to do was let everything come together and be present.

Ok, so I’ve been going on and on about Mama Oprah, but the interview was also with Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling. Two additional superstars in their own right. They play the three Mrs. (if you you’re familiar with the book) or guardian-angel-like characters of the film. I framed my question to be addressed to the three of them.

I told them how inspiring they were, and I asked the three of them how they hope this movie and their roles in the film inspires the next generation of girls.

“We’ve grown up watching you–,” I directed the next part of my question toward Oprah.

“I RAISED Ya’ll!” She interjected.

“Yes! You did! You raised us!,” I said. “And my daughter was like ‘You’re meeting Oprah? Cool! Who is she?'” I explained how I had to introduce my 7-year-old to her amazingness. “So how do you hope this movie will inspire the next generation of girls?”

Interview with Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling for Disney's A Wrinkle in Time

Photo: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

Oprah turned to Reese Witherspoon to answer first.

Reese Witherspoon on Empowering Women

“Well I think that’s a great question,” She said. “Part of what I loved about making the movie that I think is also in the movie, and you really feel it, is the power when women are together.”

She said there’s strength in numbers.–When we are not the only woman in a movie, or the only woman in a board room, or the only woman who’s a manager at her company.

We’re not against each other. When we get together, we create abundance,” Reese said. “That’s been a driving part of my career. The more I collaborate with women, the more we create for each other. So I think that’s a concept that we need to put into our little girls’ brains.”

We rise by lifting others. 

Oprah and Reese both turned to Mindy Kaling to hear her response next.

Mindy Kaling on Representation

“I think just that the cast is so inclusive,” Mindy started. “I’ve never seen anything like that and I think that as a young woman I would have felt so much joy from watching it.”

She said she would have felt so much happiness. And I pictured all the little girls who will feel the same as they see themselves represented.

“And as a dreamer, as I was, I wouldn’t have to dream quite so hard to picture myself on screen,” Mindy said.

Time for Mama Oprah’s response. She looked me dead in the eyes and gave it to me.

Oprah Winfrey on Inspiring the Next Generation

“Well you know, what I do know for sure is that everybody’s goal, whether they can articulate it as such or not, is to live a life that matters and a life that has meaning,” she said.

Oprah Winfrey Wrinkle in Time Interview with Jennifer Borget

Photo: Marshall Weinbaum

She said she thinks of her little hand and heart prints all over the Oprah show for all those years is a magnificent purpose.

“But I also knew when we were doing this film that there would be young girls like your daughter” [IMAGINE MY FACE HERE TRYING NOT TO FALL APART] “who would come along and they would see the Mrs., and they would see me and they would say, ‘what do you mean she had a talk show?’ And the imprint, the heart print that you eventually will leave in this world will come from what is said in this movie. And so for your generation that I helped to raise there will be generations to come that will be raised on this story.”

Oprah said our children will get to know her through Ava DuVernay’s vision, and they may only know her through that.

“I could feel that when I was doing it,” she said. “That wow! There’ll be kids who’ll say, ‘What? You used to be on television?’ And pretty soon they’ll be saying ‘what’s that? What’s television?'”

The interview went on for another fifteen minutes or so and the three women had us laughing about everything from conversations about admiration for J Lo’s butt, to sperm, eggs and positions to make an exact person. And then we were near or in tears comparing favorite quotes from the film. You can find more bits of our interview by searching on Twitter or Facebook using the #WrinkleInTimeEvent hashtag. But I wanted to share the moment that really touched me, and give a little more insight to how it all came together.

After the interview we took a group photo and Oprah stayed behind to shake hands, give hugs, and allow us to soak in her aura. She even walked back in during lunch to see what we were eating. For the next several hours I was stuck in a serene reverence. It seriously took me all day to process what had happened. And more than a week later I’m still coming down from that high.

Before, I asked if you’d had a vision board. Now that you’ve (hopefully) made one I hope you’ll look it over and ask yourself how you’re preparing for those opportunities that are coming to you. There’s been more than one occasion this week where I’ve thought or said “I met Oprah, I can do anything.” The opportunity didn’t just fall in my lap. It took action, work, and preparation. And in the moment I felt like the luckiest women alive.

Over the next few days I’ll have more interviews from the cast including Ava DuVernay and Storm Reid, as well as a movie review! Don’t forget A Wrinkle in Time hits theaters everywhere this Friday March 9th!

I’ve been in a little bit of a funk lately. But lulls always inspire me to look for ways to create a bit of change and spark some new excitement in my life. I love the start of a new year because it allows me to set new goals. But I also love new months, weeks and even just celebrating a new day to start over.

What are some things you to to make your day go more smoothly? Between homeschooling, working full-time hours, and making time for my marriage, things have felt a bit chaotic. I’ve been shifting some things around in my routine to see how it affects my mood and my day and I’ve landed on some things that are really helping.

I’ve realized the more I organize my day the night before, or immediately when I get up in the morning, the better the day seems to go. I’m just starting out but I’m hoping to make these things a habit for the whole month.

1. Make a to-do list

Before I go to bed, or the very first thing in the morning, I make a list of all my assignments, meetings, and tasks for the day ahead. I start by organizing my phone calls and meetings by time. From there, I fill in any free hours with the day’s assignments in order of priority.

2. Plan breakfast

I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why is it always so hard for me to eat? I’m not usually hungry in the morning, and I’m not a fan of big breakfasts. The problem is, if I skip breakfast, and then I’m rushing through lunch, I may not eat anything until close to dinnertime. If I plan my breakfast the night before I am more likely to eat the next morning. The quicker yet heartier the better. Quaker sent me some of the new Overnight Oats to try. Is a quick and easy breakfast packed with 100% whole grain oats, quinoa, flaxseed, and other real, simple ingredients. To prepare the night before all I had to do was add my favorite milk and put in the fridge to cold-steep overnight. I’ve been eating the Raisin Honey and Walnut Heaven and I have my eye on the Blueberry Banana and Vanilla Bliss to try next.

While I’m at it I should go ahead and plan our other meals too. I’ll be choosing from this 30 day challenge list.

Tips for starting a successful day.

Starting the day off with breakfast, (and a big cup of water) is one way I’m starting off my days off better.

3. Create pleasantly proficient routines

Combining things I don’t like to do with things I do like to do is my saving grace lately. For instance, doing the dishes is annoying. Doing the dishes while listening to a new audiobook is bearable. Look for more ways to combine something you love with something you loathe. Watch a guilty-pleasure show while you fold laundry. Enjoy a sweet snack while you work on your taxes. Listen to Hamilton while you work out. You get the idea.

4. Get to bed early

This is probably the most challenging task for me. I am up late almost every night catching up on work or trying to get ahead. It feels so good when I get to bed by midnight and know I’m going to enjoy a full-nights rest. It feels even better when I’m able to wake up early the next day and have a productive morning before everyone else wakes up. My new years goal to wake up early 2-3 times a week hasn’t worked out consistently, but I’m working on that.

5. Meditation

I have a “breathe” app on my Apple Watch to remind me to take a minute or two a day to stop, breathe and meditate. Know how often I’ve used it this year? Almost never. It’s really sad. Just a few minutes a day I’m taking a time out to re-focus, pray, meditate, or just breathe and sit thoughtless. It only takes a few moments and it can really set the tone for my day. Especially when I start it out that way. Add in an inspirational thought, or a chapter from a Berne Brown book and you can’t lose.

Ok, so these may all seem like super simple habits, but sometimes you’ve just gotta go back to the basics. It’s October but it’s the start of a new month, and a great time to start over on some goals. I’m taking a 30 day challenge all month to start my day off with some fresh overnight oats. And along with breakfast I’m hoping to start my days off early with meditation, and a productivity plan. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll feel out of this funk and full of a handful of good habits.

Do you have any other ideas? What helps gets your day started off right?

5 ways to prepare for a successful day the night before.

Get a jumpstart on tomorrows meals by doing some meal prep tonight! Here are 30 no-stress ideas from Parents to get you started. I’m that mom you see at the store and say “my, you look like you have your hands full!” I’m always hunting for ways to make my life a little easier.  That’s why I’ve partnered with Quaker, to share my adventures of making things a little less complicated. Quaker Overnight Oats are a hassle-free breakfast choice to help start your day. Just add your favorite milk, cover and pop in the fridge overnight. When you wake up, you’ll have a delicious, cool & hearty breakfast option. You can learn more about this product here

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.

So we’re a week into the new year and I’m just now narrowing down my goals. Usually I have them set and ready to go day one, but this year I really spent some time thinking about these and what I want out of 2017.

Do you set goals for the new year? Or resolutions? I don’t really call my new year list a list of resolutions because that sort of has an air of “I wasn’t doing things right before but I’m going to change” to me. I like to call list simply a list of goals for the new year. And they usually involve a fun challenge of some sort.

My priorities this year surround learning and health. I wrote down a list of goals with Lil’ J, but then I went back and re-worked some of them to be more specific after reading these New Year’s resolution-keeping tips from Allstate.

1. Drink more water. Specifically about 65-75 ounces a day. I haven’t been drinking nearly that much. But I have a 25oz water bottle and I’m trying to fill it up and empty it at least three times a day.

Learning piano at 30

2. Practice piano every single day. In my 30s I want to learn both piano and Spanish. I wanted to get Rosetta Stone this birthday (next week), but I’ve decided to hold off and really focus on piano this year. I’ve posted a few shares on Instagram and Snapchat, maybe I’ll upload a monthly video on my blog of my progress. I’m really excited about this.

3. Workout more Lose 20 pounds. I was debating some sort of healthier eating/fitness goals of working out a certain amount a week, but the truth is I just want to lose about 20lbs. I’ve done it before, I can do it again, and by cutting out some evening ice cream indulgence and a few less helpings of fries every week I don’t think this should be too hard to achieve.

4. Volunteer at least once a month. At the end of the year we had so much fun doing acts of kindness and volunteering around the city. I’d like to keep it up all year. At least once a month my kids and I will give back. Whether it’s our time at a nursing home, or a donation of some sort, we’ll lend a hand.

5. Read 365 Books. This was another goal that started out vague: “read to my kids every day.” But I’ve decided to go a step beyond that and read 365 books. I know this won’t be a cake walk. We don’t own that many books so we’ll be spending a lot of time at the library. I’ll start another post soon with a link to all of the books we read (we read 6 today and more of 2 novels we are working on).My 2017 goals

A few other goals that don’t need as much explaining:

6. Wake up by 6am 2-3 days a week for some “me” time and/or work.

7. Plan and cook a family dinner at least once a week.

8. Teach Lil’ J how to sew and sew at least 7 things in 2017.

And there you have it. My 2017 goals–Probably my most boring list ever. Last year I met The Rock and next year I hope to meet Oprah. This year I want to drink water and learn piano… Snore. Maybe I’ll come up with something more exciting in another week or so, but for now I’m going to enjoy working on my old lady goals of 2017.

What are your goals for this year? If you’re having trouble setting or keeping them, be sure to check out this handy list by Allstate.

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.



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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