I’ve had an idea of a new weekly series for a while now, but couldn’t quite figure out what to call it. I knew I wanted to do it on Saturdays, and Grateful Saturday, Saturday Gratitude, and a number of other ideas just didn’t sit well with me.
“Why don’t you just do it on Thursdays, and do Thankful Thursdays?” Bestie asked.
I want to post it on the weekend, as a reflection on the previous week.
So – I ended up with Nourish Your Soul Sunday. I might as well call it Nacho Sunday, cuz I’m gonna bring the cheese!
(BRB – going to go laugh at my own joke for about ten minutes.)
As you might have guessed, this is a series about gratitude. It’s also a series to help you get to know me better. It’s occurred to me that since I only post once a week, there’s a limited window into who I am.
Also, I was getting worried that my natural optimism and positivity don’t naturally come through when I’m talking about heavier finance things. I tend towards a dark (and often dry) sense of humor. Combine that with sharing some of the lesser-great things that have happened recently, and I could forgive you for thinking I’m on the cloudier side of the sunshine spectrum.
However, gratitude is my number one value, which has not been adequately captured. So, join me on today and every Sunday for a snapshot of the things I’m grateful for, how I’ve nourished my soul this week, and invested in my own happiness. It may get cheesy. It may even border on sappy sometimes. Prepare thyself 😉
Volume 1: July 10-July 17
This week has been abundant in goodness.
After last month’s budget trials, we’re solidly back on track. Our emergency fund has money in it again, we have enough cash for my other little’s very minor dental work, and my quarterly bonus went straight to our debt. My financial optimism is back, which has led to more good money behaviors. I’ve stopped eating out for lunches and dinners, and oddly, my Starbucks consumption has dropped to next to nothing.
Sidebar on Starbucks
While I’ve previously shouted my love of Starbucks and lattes from the rooftops, the longer I’m in the PF community, the more I feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth. So, I’ve been going less and less.
This led to a deeper meditation on what it is I actually value. For a long time, I’ve really enjoyed lattes, just for what they are – milky sweet espresso goodness. But lately, I’ve come to associate Starbucks outings with time with friends. One of my coworkers and I frequently ride to Starbucks together. We have some of our best planning conversations in the car. Now, when I go to Starbucks alone, I’m not getting that social fix or the creative energy buzz. I’m just getting a latte.
I used to think of Starbucks as that thing I could have all the time when I started making enough money to not worry about 5 bucks here and there. So, for several years, that was my latte’s secondary function: a reward for making it through some rougher, darker times.
But my whole life is different now. My days are rewards in and of themselves. I work for a great boss. I have wonderful coworkers that I love spending time with. I have flexibility. And I’m well compensated.
A latte can’t really top that.
So, I’ve decided to drop the daily Starbucks habit for good. Will I still go with my coworker once a week? Yep. Will I still drop by on the occasional Saturday when I need to be close to home, but able to work without interruption? Sure.
But for the most part, I’ll celebrate my days, just as they are.
We’ve been cooking more, which is amazeballs. It saves money, puts you more in tune with what you’re eating, and is generally more nutritious than eating out. Bonus: I really love to cook. Actually, more so than the cooking, I love feeding people. There’s just something about sharing a meal that feels good.
This week I cooked butter chicken, which was so delicious I immediately wanted to make another batch. I’m not a food blogger, but for a second, let’s pretend together. Imagine chicken slow-cooked in coconut milk whisked with tomatoes, warm Indian spices, and grass-fed butter, served over perfectly cooked rice.
That was a fair attempt! The other meal that was just incredible this week was cooked by Hubby, and consisted of rice, vegetables, and black-eyed peas cooked with ham hocks. There’s not a way to make it sound pretty; it didn’t even look pretty. It was just damn good, which is all that really matters. Even the kids loved it!
The highlight of my week was a conversation with a mentor. Since I was pretty recently in Bummertown, I needed an outside party to talk to and help me find the root cause. Even after rooting out a few solutions, I felt like there was more – another cause that needed to be addressed.
Thankfully, my mentor is a master at asking questions, and after our time together, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I’m usually a lady with a plan, particularly in regards to my career, and for the first time, I don’t know quite what’s next. Folks who aren’t planners would be correct in pointing out that it’s a little early to worry about that, since I’m happy where I am. However, as a planner, I don’t need to know the whole journey, but I like to be able to see the outline of the next step.
Our conversation resulted in another conversation, this time with my boss. My boss is really just the best to work for, and I couldn’t figure out how I could POSSIBLY be unhappy working for him. Turns out, I just need him to communicate a little differently, and work with me on some growth goals. This makes him happy too. (I promised there’d be sap, and here it is: I LOVE MY JOB AND MY BOSS AND ALL THE THINGS.)
More Good Money and Career-Related Happenings
Freelance work appears to be falling from the sky! It’s work that helps build skills towards my growth goals, and better yet: it’s fun. It’s almost restorative, it’s that fun. In other news: I’m a big, huge nerd. And very, very lucky to have found a career path that fits me so well, and has so much opportunity for growth.
We’re still unpacking. Yes – still.
We moved in over Memorial Day, but still have lots of boxes lying about. I’m envious of the folks who move and unpack within a week or two.
However, our relaxed pace has been worth it. I’ve spent so much more time with my kiddos. My son’s reading is progressing nicely. He loves doing worksheets in his practice book. It just about makes my heart burst every time I see him working in it – he’s a nerd too! Just like me! He’s mine!
The other reason that we’re taking our time is that we’re re-evaluating what needs a place in our new home. I’m a big fan of decluttering before you move – in theory. In reality, Hubs spent many a night just cramming stuff in boxes while I painted at the new house.
So now – we sort.
We’re also thinking about systems. Why do we have so much paper? What can we do to decrease the amount of paper that comes into our home? What can we do to make sure the paper that does come in doesn’t pile up?
Rinse and repeat for everything else we own.
It’s allowed me to reflect on and be grateful for things that have served us well, even if it’s now time for them to move on to a new home.
Downtime – Actual Legitimate Downtime
You may be wondering if all of these good things filled my plate to the point where I didn’t have even a moment of downtime. You’d be wrong!
This week I’ve had several opportunities to read. My husband’s not a reader, so usually we spend an hour or so watching TV together after the kids are in bed. I’ve noticed that watching TV doesn’t really relax me, so this week, I made a point of setting aside time to read. It’s done wonders for me! I’m so much more chill. And happier! It’s almost like I forgot how much I love to read.
If you’re a mystery/thriller fan, pick up Jeffrey Deaver’s latest – The Steel Kiss. Like everything in the Lincoln Rhyme series, it’s a page-turner, and I struggled to even tear myself away long enough to write this.
Top Reads This Week:
- Our Frugality is a Sham // The Resume Gap
- The Problem with Video Games is Leisure Time Shaming // Half-Banked
- My #1 Tip for Blog Writing on the Web // Think, Save, Retire
- One Thing Everyone Can Do Today with Their Finances // Two Cup House