Are You Trying to Find Joy During the Holiday Season, When You’re in Your Thirties and Feeling Broke?

This post, and the book and journal options that are available, are for you. The following excerpt is from a short book I recently wrote in my own season of feeling broken in many ways, including financially, not long ago. I decided to actually sit down and study joy: what is it and how do I get more of it when I just don’t feel it? After getting clarity and breakthrough, I decided to write and package my book in a way that others can find joy too!

You can purchase the book and Reflective Journal for yourself! The journal includes access to an online community to get support, quotes, guided questions, and action steps to really put joy into action this season, just where and how you are now. To get the book and journal click on the photos below or these links: FINDING JOY BOOK || FINDING JOY JOURNAL


Part 1 – What is Joy Really?

Finding joy in a “season of joy” when you don’t feel it, but instead all you feel is broke. Wow. That’s a tough one. And something that I wrestled with too long before sitting down and deciding that I was going to understand this joy word: what it is and how do I find it. Three little letters that pack a huge punch J-O-Y. And to feel the full weight of the word and really understand it, it’s almost like you need to know the opposite: Misery, Trials, Tribulation, and Brokenness. If you’re reading this now, you’re probably fully aware of one tribulation: feeling broke in a season of giving and… joy.

In this short book, we’ll look at a couple of exact definitions of joy, but first we have to understand something super important: Joy is not happiness, it supersedes our circumstances, and it actually brings strength to the person who chooses to grasp it. This is
why I bring up knowing the opposite of joy. Because sometimes it is through the very things we hate in life the brokenness, misery, trials, and walking through tribulations- that joy can show its face and have lasting impact in the moment and carry us beyond the moment.

By definition joy is, “joy, calm delight, or inner gladness.” This definition comes from the ancient Greek word “chara.”* There are many other definitions such as: gladness, mirth, or as dictionary.com defines it, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Joy sounds happy and light! It sounds like a great thing. So why does this great, happy thing seem so hard to grasp, especially with the Holiday season? Gifts, parties, dinners, Secret-Santas, things to do, people to see, and EVERYTHING COSTS SOMETHING! From first-hand experience, when you feel broke all the good can twist up quickly and become a point of anxiety and fear. But if we understand that joy is available to us DESPITE the trials and tribulations in life, we can approach the season with openness and even joy. So let’s unpack and understand the definitions of joy by looking at where we can see it in day-to-day life…

Do not wait to experience joy this season! Get your book and journal today. It will be worth it.

The book offers insight and clarity from someone (myself) with first hand experience in finding freedom from feeling broke, experiencing joy instead.

The journal includes:

  • Guided questions to help get to the heart of the matter
  • Extra pages to journal
  • Quotes to turn back to when you need hope
  • Action steps that you can take now
  • AND the opportunity to join an online community for support in this season

*Audry, “Words of Faith Hope and Love,” https://www.wordsoffaithhopelove.com/what-is-joy-inthe-bible/

Six Easy Ways to Save

Money- dealing with it, making in, saving it, spending it – can seem overwhelming and just plain hard some days! Right now, I’m in a season of saving over spending extra money and I’ve come up with a list of ways to save with EASE. A simple post with simple solutions of things that I’ve both seen and done myself that may help you. What else would you add to this list?

  1. “Shop” your friends closet instead of buying a new dress for events – I used to do this in college and after a relative recently showed me an “old” dress of hers that she is wearing to a wedding coming up, it inspired me to write about it here. Instead of buying an entire new outfit for an event, see if you can borrow a new for you outfit that you can give back at the end. This will save you money and closet space!
  2. Meal plan through the week and stick to it – You’ll know exactly what you’re spending on groceries and avoid unnecessary spending at fast food and random purchases during the week.
  3. Buy in “Bulk” Online – There are so many products that you can buy online in sets of 2, 3, or 4 that are less expensive than in the store buying individually. For example, my husband found his favorite hair product on eBay in a set of three that was cheaper than buying it individually at the store.
  4. Date Night at the Park – Instead of going out for dinner or drinks where you’ll need to think about tip, paying for the meal or event, and maybe even parking, plan a “fancy” dinner date at a local park. Dress up, bring a candle, and have fun with a meal from home out in nature rather than just out.
  5. Outdoor Fun – Hiking, yoga outside, picnics, walk-and-talks, campfires, get dressed up and do a photo shoot with a friend for an afternoon… there are fun ways to connect with friends and loved ones that don’t involve spending money out.
  6. Sell Gift Cards – Have you ever gotten a gift card you haven’t used and probably won’t? Sell it to someone else! You can down-sell the gift card to someone who will use it and get cash quickly. I’ve seen posts online “Who wants a $50 gift card for $40? I’m not gonna use it!” This is a great way to give and get at the same time.

When Money Works For You

Photo Cred: Joanna Nix-Walkup

I don’t know if everyone who will put eyes on this post knows the feeling of getting caught in the rat race of money or not, but if you do, then this one may be for you. You see, there is a rat race I’ve been feeling stuck on for a while and I’m slowly becoming free. It’s a financial race to get ahead of taxes and bills, in order to have enough to save, invest, and give generously. (I will preface this post by saying please check out my other post “It’s Better to Give Than to Receive” so that you understand my views on giving no matter what. There are ways to give generously no matter our financial circumstances.) But as life stands now, I’d like to give financially, in more profound ways than ever before.

Recently, last month in December 2020, I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and it changed my life. Not in any outward way. My financial and living circumstances from an outsider’s perspective look the same this month as last month, but my thoughts and words around money have shifted. At some point in the book, I started believing I could be the “rich Dad” Kiyosaki talks about. I started believing I could be financially wealthy in order to get out of the rat race.

The idea that opened my eyes to this new way of thinking that has changed my perspective on money is this: Money works for ME.

Until last month when reading that book, my entire life I worked for money. I worked a job or gig and received money in return. Work, get paid. Work, get paid. Whether life guarding at pools through high school and college or becoming a sports video producer, I worked for money. But then Rich Dad, Poor Dad flipped my perspective completely on its head. In the middle of the chapter where I had this enormous “aha” I literally spoke out loud over and over, “money works for me, I don’t work for money,” till I believed it.

When money works for me, then I get to let go of pressure to perform for work. I get to let go of fear of the financial “what ifs” with taxes and bills. I get to take authority. Finances do not rule my life anymore, I rule my finances. I am in charge of how much I make, where I work, and why.

This was huge. Still is. It’s something I’ve been testing for the last few weeks and so far, fear/stress/worry has taken a backseat to the ownership I now have on a mental-emotional level with money. And it’s manifesting to the physical.

I choose where and how I spend the money I make. I’m not letting go of responsibility to things that must get taken care of financially, but I’m just way more cognizant that control is in my hands. I control when and how things get paid. I control how much enters and exits my account each month. Money works to my behalf in buying groceries. Money works to my behalf in paying bills. Money works to my behalf with creating the life I want. And it will continue to.

Taking ownership of this one concept has opened me up to now saying things like “I control my schedule; it doesn’t control me.” And “I control my time; time doesn’t control me.” These invisible entities that used to run me around and rule my life, don’t get to anymore. It’s up to me. And it has allowed me to breath a little easier the last three or so weeks since reading the book.

So, friend reading this post, let money work for you. Stop working for money. No one, and no-thing should own or control us.

No. You have skills, ideas, intelligence, interests, and accomplishments to offer the world. These are valuable first, before anyone decides what the value those things are worth on a per hour or per year basis.

You are valuable. And money is the thing that works to your favor- getting you the things you need and want in life, and perhaps out of the rat race one day soon.

Normalizing Failure

Photo Cred: Amy Humphries

The number of times in my life that I have done anything at all, perfectly is approximately zero. I’ve done some things well, other things even better, but nothing in life have I executed or carried out perfectly. As a matter of fact, some things I’ve attempted in life… many things… I’ve absolutely failed in. I’ve failed to show up for friends and family when they’ve needed me. Failed in carrying out duties at work. Failed in my workouts and fitness life at times which I take pretty seriously as a lifestyle and habit.

And yet through my failures I’ve learned. Overcome. Transitioned. And grown. Through my failures I’ve seen things from a new perspective I didn’t know mattered. Through my failures I’ve been able to stand up and try again.

John Maxwell, a bestselling author and expert on leadership says, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

Applying this concept to my life, I’d like to introduce the idea of failure being quite normal even freeing. Because in failure we get the chance and opportunity to try again and overcome.

An example of this could be a child learning how to read or trying a sport for the first time. It would be insane to expect that child to perform a new task perfectly. The beauty of being a child is they are given the right (for the most part) to make mistakes in things, learn consequences if there are any, and get better.

I remember my first swim meet ever, I was 7 years old, maybe 8, and was supposed to swim a 25-yard breaststroke. I got to the end of the lane and popped my head up, thrilled to see I had won. For all of 3 seconds when the person running the timer in my lane said I was disqualified. I actually swam freestyle, not breaststroke. Oops! I learned the lesson and never made the mistake again I don’t think through all my years on a swim team. I had failed. But no one held it against me.

So why would we hold failure against ourselves as adults? Why do we take such considerable strides to HIDE failure on social media and with friends and family? I’m all about putting our best foot forward in life, but what if that is actually crippling us at the end of the day rather than living authentically with our stories of not being where we want to be yet that could be encouraging and helpful to so many people.

I submit to you now that failure is more normal than carrying out any task in life perfectly.

I’d like to see failure normalized, not hidden behind pretty social media posts and trying to hide our faults and failures to the enormous extent that we do.

Another example comes from my own life with working out and Triathlons. I used to compete in regularly 1 to 2 times a year in Triathlons around the northeast of the US in new cities and towns each race. My first year I had a HORRIBLE race time. I put so much effort into training and making a goal time for the race, yet I completely blew it the day of the race. I briefly thought to myself “I’m not made to do Tris.” I almost gave up this hobby and lifestyle because of a bad race. It took about two weeks until I missed the swimming, biking, and running and chose instead to say, “Well, it seems I have a lot to learn and become better in with regards to workouts and training. I can do better next time.”

I think giving into the first statement, “I’m just not made to do this” isn’t going to help me win and become better at the next thing I choose to focus my time and energy on. It isn’t going to help me succeed. It isn’t going to help me really at all. Though I failed in reaching all of my goals that first race, I chose instead to see my end time as a reason to adjust, get educated on workouts, include other people in my training by talking to a couple of other athletes who had done way more racing than I ever have.

I chose to realize that “failure” was just a matter of personal definition, not an absolute that determined an end to something that I really enjoyed— in this case swimming, biking, and running—despite my slow pace and poor choices in the race that really set me back.

Normalizing failure for any and all can be a way to rethink failure in general. If you personally “did bad” in something— could be anything from baking a cake that turned out horribly that you meant to give to someone for a special occasion, to showing disruptive and “bad” behavior at an event that in retrospect you realize you shouldn’t have acted that way—and you choose instead to learn grow and change based off of that perceived failure, have you really failed at all?

I don’t know a single person on planet earth that has done ANYTHING perfectly in life. But everyone I know has messed up in big or small ways around me my whole life, including myself, and the world still moves on.

Instead of getting caught up with our failures, beating ourselves up, ruminating on went wrong, what if instead we chose to focus on the positive that might be a result of that failure? What if that time we didn’t show up as we should for someone we learn the art of apologizing and making amends? What if we recognize that no matter how old we are, we are fallible human beings and failing is a part of life. Failing is actually… normal… and can bring about positive change including overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness in some area.

This new year, let’s embrace our “failures” as we might call them and realize that as Maxwell said, “The only guarantee for failure is if we stop trying.”

As long as you admit the mistake, change the course, make a new decision next time you’re faced with a problem or dilemma that you “failed in” then truly failure isn’t the end of the story.

I’m sure many people are making new year’s resolutions and vowing changes for 2021. Let’s not see 2020 as a failure, but a year of learning and growth. Let’s choose to walk into 2021 refreshed for amazing opportunities that if we keep going, don’t give up, and try again in we can have the greatest personal success imaginable, no matter what our goals are be them relational, financial, spiritual, physical, or any area of life that you may be holding onto failure in.

There is always hope. There is always room for growth and change. There is always a new time to keep the faith and change the course for better next time. At the end of the day, without failure we will never fully understand the deep feelings that success brings.

Held Back By Money… or Not?

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I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time. For two years now, I’ve pondered the words my older brother said to me when I was considering grad school, but concerned about the cost, he said, “Don’t ever let money be the reason to do, or not do something.”

It was a statement of freedom. Of empowerment. That money doesn’t have to dictate my choices. He followed the comment with, “There is so much money in the world, and if God really wants you to do something, He’ll provide the money to make it happen.”

I did end up going to grad school, and just five months out of student life, back at work, it seems I’ve settled back into a mindset of “well I don’t have money, so I can’t” and “I’m living a poor person life right now, sorry” and “I wish I could take trips like them.”

Money is important, and we need to live within our means. The repercussion of spending what we do not have could wind us up in a position of vulnerability, debt, and destitution.

That said, living like a “poor person” is a mentality and lifestyle that goes beyond mere frugality. It’s the opposite of empowering and is a self-inflicted state of being that gets rid of choices, and puts you at the disposal of others.

I feel the crunch of getting out of debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and wanting to save up in order to move on to a new market where I can make a decent wage for my degrees and experience. But, I’m not going to get there by living as a victim to my circumstances and with the mentality that I’m poor.

I’ve yet to see a paycheck for my work, yet I’ve published a book that a whole slew of people have bought. I’ve gotten engaged, and used mileage built up via credit, to make the flights possible on my most recent trip to see my fiancé in his country. I can buy groceries every week, put gas in my car, and pay all the car bills that make it possible for me to get to work each week.

I’m not poor.

Nothing about what I do in my daily life depends on other’s charity.

And after paying another round of payments off with my last piddly squat paycheck, I know that as long as I continue to dream big, and however slow or fast make moves of living my best life, money has no authority over what I can and cannot do with my life.

God knows the plans He has for me. And I will continue to prosper under His hand, knowing full well He has all authority to give me more or take it all away, like Job, the wealthiest man of his day from the Bible, who at God’s allowance, lost EVERYTHING including his children. Imagine losing your home, money, job, and children, and health all in the same week. Job lived through it and came out more blessed on the other side as he trusted God during the process.

God’s perspective is higher than mine, and He sees what I need and how he’ll provide, before I do. So far, He’s been gracious to give me a job to at least be making something during this transition period after grad school, but I know this is not the end. It can’t be. I need more and I ask him every day to show me the jobs I should be applying for that pay in a way that I can be a blessing to people, instead of a burden.

On the flipside, when a high paying job presents itself to me, I don’t want money to be the sole purpose of taking it. As my brother said, “Don’t ever let money be the reason to do, or not do something.” I want to be passionate about my work, not just take a higher paying one for the paychecks.

Money shouldn’t be the reason (a reason, yes, but not the ultimate reason) for making any life changing decisions. DO YOUR LIFE. Think about what you want, then go for it!

Live the life you want, now.

Be happy, now.

Be debt free, now.

Give generously, now.

Set goals, and then achieve them, now.

Money isn’t the mindset and lifestyle that will allow you or I to live your best life. It is a part of it, but money never needs to hold us back.