my next chapter – the intro

“God only gives you as much as you can handle.”

We all know the phrase, “God only gives you as much as you can handle.” I truly feel that this is such a falsehood to believe on so many levels.

Here me out.

I recently sent an email to my divorce attorneys telling them whether or not I was willing to accept the pathetic excuse of documentation that my soon-to-be-ex submitted and go to mediation or pursue the documentation further. I put a lot of thought into the email and by the end of it, I realized just how tired of this garbage I truly am. He’s exhausted me and I just want out. I just want to be done with him and be done with this marriage.

Reflecting over the past year, I realize that I have been through some tough stuff…some horrible garbage, and I’m kind of proud of myself for still having a smile on my face each day.

So to my point – God didn’t turn and look at me one day and say, “I think I’m going to put Staci through misery and make her experience horrible things from her husband because there’s some lesson I want her to learn and because I know she can handle it.” Heck no. God didn’t purposely dish this {insert poop emoji} out to me.

Through my beliefs, I know that God knew what my husband would do to me this year but I truly believe that he looked at me and said, “someone in your life is going to make some bad choices that will negatively affect you and the kids, but I will make you tough enough and I will be there for you through each step and I’ll help you make lemonade out of lemons.”

I think that the phrase should be changed from “God only gives you as much as you can handle” to “God will give you enough strength to handle what is happening in your life.” God isn’t punishing me for something…he’s helping me through something that a bad person chose to do to me and the kids. And in that knowledge I can take comfort.

I’m so thankful for my faith because without it, I honestly think I would be in a deep, deep depression. But instead, the kids are thriving, I have the hope of love again one day whenever I’m ready for a relationship, life is actually better now than when we were together, and I’m almost financially back on my feet. I can feel how close I am…

The Start of my Next Chapter

The career that I left, multifamily property management, to help my husband market his business, was a rare find and was in a unique niche…one that is hard to find, for the most part, unless you are able to move to the northeast, Texas, or the west coast and I am not able to move, for family reasons. So my hunt for a new, permanent, career has been tough. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been told, “You’re overqualified” or the advice I’ve been given, “dumb down your resume” – both of these are just as heart wrenching as being rejected for a job that you really wanted.

Taking brave steps

So while I’m still searching for the perfect fit for me and the kids, I’ve started working on something that I dabbled with when I left my career – my own consulting business.

My heart belongs in marketing and working with people and I’ve come to master the art of diagnosing customer service issues as well as having a thorough understanding of increasing a small business’ marketing footprint online. And while I love to offer advice and tell people what they can be doing better, I’ve realized that it’s somewhat challenging to market my own business so this is my newest goal – the intro to ‘my next chapter’ so-to-speak.

Blogging has helped me hone my digital marketing skills and truly opened my eyes to the vast number of people out there trying to do the same thing that I’m trying to do – balance the kids and home-life with a job to be financially beneficial to everyone.

Marketing a new business is tough…sometimes marketing an existing business is tough…and not in the respect that it’s hard to understand how to do, but if there isn’t a marketing plan in place or the time present, the marketing avenues that someone has in front of them can be extremely overwhelming. Not only do you have to create the product for your customers to buy, you have to find the customers and share what you are selling to the world.

That is what can be overwhelming and where I’m trying to step in to help those that would rather focus on designing kids clothes, writing their novel, creating a relaxing environment for their clients in their new salon, or want to draw customers into their brand new restaurant. They get to create their product and offer their services and I get to help them refine techniques currently in place, within their business, so that once we find the customers the business is ready for them. Then I get to help find their customers through social media and their online presence as well as provide tips to ‘market-on-foot’ (more traditional avenues).

So while I try to figure out what my future career path is and what will fully support my newly defined ‘Fab-Four’, I’m working toward helping others…Helping others reach new heights with their business. (And it may help me reach my dream of working for myself for the years to come.)

Should you know anyone that is struggling with marketing their business, send them my way. I will forever owe you one!

Contact Take Charge Marketing!

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Email: takechargemarketing2016@gmail.com

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Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and readership!

i will never apologize for being me again. my new goal: stop being a people pleaser.

Okay people pleasers. This is a lesson for us…for you…and especially a reminder for me.

I’m a people pleaser.

If you’ve been around me for more than 10 minutes, you’ll quickly figure out that I’m a people pleaser. I truly admire those that are the opposite of me because it’s a black hole that we get ourselves into, those of us that are people pleasers. We can’t stop ourselves. We want everyone to be happy even if it’s at our own expense.

So we bend and twist and give in to everyone else’s needs until we realize that we can’t please everyone…and then we start the next day and try a different route to please everyone for something different. It seriously is an addiction.

And when we get into a relationship, it’s easy for us to lose ‘us’…to lose who we are in a relationship with, order to adopt our partners wants and needs so that we can make them happy. And in a way, it’s not a bad thing because that’s who we are…making people happy makes us happy. But the problem begins when we choose partners or friends that don’t understand who we really are and they take advantage of our personalities instead of giving back to us in order to make US happy too.

My newest life.

I’ve given up, at least at this moment, in the hope that I’ll ever find a guy that can fully understand who I am and give to me unselfishly, just to make me happy because they love me. And that’s ok with me. It’s oddly calming to know that I can take care of myself. I think that my friends have clearly shown me in the past 90 days that I have people in my life that love me and they want nothing from me other than for me to be happy, which is more than what I’ve experienced from either of my ex-husbands.

My life has been packed with social events and it’s because I’ve opened myself up to me…doing things that make me happy, regardless of what others think I should be doing. And the biggest thing that makes me happy is experiencing life with others…with other people that make me laugh, that understand my humor, that don’t judge when I’m not perfect or when I say silly things or can’t focus on a darn thing and jump around from topic to topic. That’s who I am. I’m imperfect. And I’m proud of it.

I love life. I love to be silly. I love to laugh more than anything in the world. My poor sister used to get in so much trouble, when we were growing up, because she would sing at the dinner table and try to eat at the same time in order to prove my dad wrong – that she could sing and eat – and she’d get in trouble and then I would laugh. This occurred probably five nights out of seven. I couldn’t help it. I’m that girl that laughs at the wrong times. I did it this weekend when my own son was getting in trouble by his grandpa for being gross at the table. And I don’t care anymore. It’s how I’m wired and I am no longer apologizing for how I’m wired.

If laughing at the wrong times is the worst thing I do…then I’ve lived a good life.

I’m not perfect.

Unfortunately, laughing at the wrong times is not the worst thing I’ve done.

I’ve said the wrong thing at the wrong time. I’ve insulted people unintentionally. I’ve insulted people’s talents without realizing it. I’ve judged people without seeing the whole picture. I’ve thought that I was better than people, unfortunately a lot more than I want to admit. I destroyed my sons lives by leaving their father. I’ve cut people off in the church parking lot because I was starving. I’ve critiqued my ex-husbands choices. I’M. NOT. PERFECT.

BUT, I am who I am.

When you screw up, it’s how you deal with the screw up that will really define who you are. That’s where I think I do ok and why my incessant need to please everyone comes in handy. I care about others and their feelings a lot! And if I even think for one second that I’ve insulted them, then I internalize it, over think it, send an email, send a text, call, send another text, just to say I’m sorry.

So, I’m just a little proud of myself for being able to say, “I am who I am” without caring if anyone approves of my choices or not (and in all honesty, I do care still a little, just not nearly as much as I used to).

Dating Life 3.0

So…as I’ve started thinking about dating, flirting, or whatever with men…I’ve really decided to just be me. I’m not going to apologize, ever. I’m a lot to handle but I also have a lot to give…a lot of love…a lot of attention…a lot of intelligence…a lot of a lot to give to another person. So if the worst thing that they have to deal with is that I have a lot of emotions, then if they can help me keep my ‘up’ up, then we’ll be good, because I’ll be willing to devote the same amount of effort into that person that they put into me.

Whenever I date again, I refuse to hide who I am. I likely won’t lay it all out there on date #1, but I will be who I am and not feel bad. If nothing else, it will give the ‘other party’ the opportunity to think “holy crap, this girl is for me” or “holy crap, this girl is nuts”. But even if he thinks I’m nuts, I won’t internalize that to be “I’m not enough”…it’s simply, “He can’t handle all I have to offer.” And that’s how it will be and that’s ok with me.

And I will no longer accept that they can’t handle me because in reality, they aren’t mature enough to realize that I’m not a lot to handle…I’m a normal woman, normal human being, normal person that has emotions…and if they can’t handle grown up emotions, then they can leave. Sorry, they missed out on a grown up. And if they walk away, then I’ll know that they weren’t a grown up because I promise, the issue isn’t me. I don’t require large sum deposits in my bank account, big presents, lavish dinners and date nights…I require attention…anything that anyone else wants.

So until then, I won’t ever apologize for being all that Staci is, again. If they don’t appreciate it, then it sucks that they won’t be a part of my amazing life. I refuse to ever apologize again for who I am. And neither should you. You’ll find the perfect person for you if you are never ashamed of everything you are – the good and the bad (or at least what YOU think is the bad).

So one day, when I’m ready, I’ll write my bio for an online dating site and it will be nothing but the truth…just bullet points (because I love bullet points):

* camo lover
* jeep lover
* country music lover
* fine dining expert
* a passion for roller coasters
* has a love of scary and girlie movies (and anything with Marky Mark in it)
* lover of sushi and Mexican food
* would love nothing more than to throw her hair into a pony tail and hat in order to go fishing, eat matzo ball soup, and go to Gator football games

Perfect girl, right?? I think so…and at this point in my life, I don’t care if anyone else agrees with me. 🙂

Who cares what everyone else thinks!

Keep your chin up. A lot of us love you out there!

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

hockey sticks and pink bows: adventure #6

I loved how this weeks’ adventure started…by pure accident and prompted by the boys – kind of made me feel like I’m doing something right as a mom in creating these memories through our adventures.

Moms are guilty of doing too much sometimes and I’ll admit that I bend over backwards a lot more than I probably should, to make sure that they have what they need. For heaven’s sake, I ‘pre-open’ their water bottles that I pack in their lunch boxes because they struggle to get them open on their own and I don’t want anyone to make fun of them for not being able to open their own water bottles. Yes, you may laugh, I know I do, and yes, you are also right, I’ve coddled them…but I give myself and excuse – the divorce guilt. I’m working hard to find a balance between teaching them life skills and wanting to ‘care’ for them. But more about that in a later post.

This week was a tough week for my marriage and I deal so much better with tough times when I have friends or family around. I thank the good Lord because I think that I’ve had very few nights alone – maybe once or twice a week for the past three months where I’ve been completely on my own and when I’m not alone, it’s allowed me to focus on other things, life events and people. It’s been great to help me get through this pending divorce.

So I thought it would be nice to have family over for dinner on Sunday…just because…just to say thank you for supporting us in so many ways over the past couple of months…just because having family over for dinner is fun for me and the kids. I called everyone…they accepted and then the boys brains started rolling.

The kids have always gravitated toward the kitchen. Whether it’s to eat me out of house and home or to help me cook or to ‘create’ their own ‘recipes’, they have bugged me and my mom, to learn how to cook and bake. One of my oldests’ favorite shows is ‘The Chew’ and the chefs are rock stars to him. They are pretty darn close to the equivalent to the stars of the Descendants movies…and to an almost 10 year old, that is rock star status.

They wanted to have our family over and to cook for them. The idea evolved into creating a restaurant. And I loved it because I have struggled with them seeing the ‘need’ to serve others instead of themselves this summer so I thought it was a great way to teach this important life lesson – servanthood.

This is what we did:

* Named the restaurant, created the sign for the restaurant and hung it in the living room. My thoughtful son chose four poster boards, and used each of our favorite colors to write the name of the restaurant on the poster board.
* Put an ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ sign on the front door.
* Created a menu with three appetizers, four main course options, three side items and three dessert items.
* Mom made all of the food…kiddos helped with the desserts.
* Set the table which the kids have become experts at.
* Divided the responsibilities – i.e. who would greet our customers, who would seat them, how to seat them if the ‘whole party’ wasn’t there, who would take the orders, who would run the food, and a few other things. They were taking this very seriously!

My oldest even put on a tie and the best we would get out of my #2, when we asked him to put on ‘nice’ clothes were gray camo pants and a green camo shirt. It was classy. 🙂 Most of everything went as planned except my #2 man decided that he’d rather sit with the ‘customers’ and eat instead of running the food…but oh well. His attention span is shorter – he lasted longer than I thought he would.

This kept me a little busier than I expected and was only able to capture pictures of the empty plates and dirty dishes after we were done but it was quite a learning experience for the boys because they were tired too after taking care of others needs. It was fun to see them really trying to pull this off and take this so seriously. The icing on the cake with this adventure is that I was able to cook all of our meals for the week in one night! It’s been great!

And once again, the beginning started as groans (mainly from my #2 man) but after our ‘customers’ left they each told me how much fun they had. My oldest has really started to join my ‘adventure movement’ because he’s been coming up with ideas on his own for our adventures.

Remember these tips for going on your own adventures:

#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above so that we could keep them in our scrapbook.

#3: During our time together, I took pictures (even though it was after the fact) and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our next adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the adventure, print out a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.

my marketing mini me

If you were to compare any picture of my kids to their fathers, the first thing out of your mouth would be, “they look just like their dad”. And it’s true. My boys are clones of their father. Their father is a clone of his dad. Their father’s siblings are also clones of my boys grandfather.

My daughter is young enough that her looks may morph into looking like me, but right now she looks a lot like her dad. Not that either are ugly, but I wanted just one kid that people immediately would say, “holy smokes, she/he looks just like you.” I carried them, felt every kick, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, delivered them, nursed them, and one of the first things that I was told after every birth was, “so-and-so looks just like their dad!” So I started responding with, “yeah – __________ (insert child’s name) looks just like ____________ (insert child’s name).”

It’s painful, a little…so, a word of advice, don’t tell a new mom that the kid is the spitting image of the dad. Maybe combine it – say something like, “she/he is such a mixture of the two of you” even if it is a lie…just do it. You’ll make the mom feel good – I promise! Especially when the first word is “Dada”, she’ll remember that you told her that the child was such a mixture of both parents.

But then I get some satisfaction…when they act like me or do things like me or think like me because, hey, in reality, I think I’m pretty darn awesome at most of the things that I do. So if my kids aren’t going to look like me, maybe at least they will have their feet on the ground, great heads on their shoulders and not be jerks. (Forgive my lack of humbleness – I think I’m pretty darn awesome. :))

When my oldest was three he started ice skating lessons, with the end result to be able to be a strong skater in hockey because, if any coach is any good, he/she will tell you that the strongest players are the ones that are the strongest skaters. So if today I won the lottery, one of the things I would do is fly his first skating coach back to the US from England and have her train with him…she’s just that good, or was at least that amazing with my son. The greatest thing about her was that she figured out how my son was wired, even at three years old…and she was spot on, even to this day. At the end of one of the sessions, she looked at me and #1’s dad and said, “he’s either going to be a general in the military or a politician”.

That’s who my oldest is…a born leader, sometimes a manipulator, always on the go, and always a salesman that has a ton of passion behind everything he does.

His personality has so many traits similar to my own that recently I’ve caught myself wanting to talk to him like a friend rather than his mom (and let certain things slide) because it’s fun to talk to someone that thinks like you. He’s funny and witty and has recently begun really learning and applying the art of sarcasm, recently started to put two-and-two together about world events (I love politics and understanding today’s world that we live in), and recently started to show some maturity about responsibilities.

After my husband moved out (his step-dad), I saw a whole new side to him. He became this responsible person that killed bugs, set the table without being asked, tried to do laundry on his own, helped with his sister, and told me that if E wasn’t going to be there that he would help me with whatever I needed. My nine year old. Who was this child? I wanted him to still be the five year old that needed me to tie his shoes but instead I had a little man standing in front of me.

So I have this whole new kid that I’m figuring out. Part of it is his age, part of it is the new family dynamic that we now find ourselves in…but whatever it is, he’s kinda cool…at least to me.

My ‘geeky’ side has always found it interesting to analyze marketing data – where customers come from, how they hear about you, what keywords were entered in their search, what time of day they respond, how long they stay on a website, where they stay on a website, what kind of traffic is coming in (qualified or unqualified), what is the driving decision behind the purchase process, and everything else that can be determined behind the numbers of marketing efforts.

When everyone else is tuning in to the Super Bowl to watch the game or the funny commercials, I’m Googling to find out how much ‘so-and-so’ paid for an ad and then I wait a few weeks to see if either their stock prices have gone up or if there is another determining factor to see if the commercial increased profits.

I critique ads or commercials based on color choice, content, length of ad, music choice, time slot, humor, choice of actors/models and so much more. Do I get paid for this – no, but it’s fun for me and it’s how I’m wired. I have a marketing mind.

Then one day, during summer break, my son looks at me and begs not to have to watch “The Price is Right” anymore because ‘it’s for old people’. Why I ask him? Because all of the commercials are about ‘medicine and the CVS pharmacy’ and they have ‘old people in the commercials’. I smile and make him watch anyway.

Then another day, he looks at me and says I know why they make that commercial for Pepto Bismal so easy to sing…so that people don’t forget that when they have diarrhea that they should take that medicine. Such a ‘boy thing’ to focus on.

As the weeks have gone past this summer, I’ve discovered that I can bounce ideas off of him, from a marketing perspective, and he gets me and he has pretty good feedback.

One day last week, I made the kids ride in the car without technology (I know – I’m such a mean mom, right??). My #2 man asked what we should talk about. My #1 man suggested that we create a name and subject matter for the vlog that they wanted to go live with soon. Then when we started talking about names for the vlog and I listed some things to remember about naming a business or project, he got it! He listened and then ran with it and basically put together the business plan for the vlog that he wanted to create with his brother.

My little mini-me. My marketing-minded mini-me. So while he may not look anything like me and he will forever hear that he looks just like his dad, at least I can take comfort that I did contribute to that brain in his skull. That he will understand my quirkiness one day because he’ll realize that he’s the same way.

I’ve learned that when you least expect it, you’ll learn about yourself through your kids and how they are wired…and you’ll come to realize that they are pretty darn cool and so are you.