Do you want to know my secret for a good marriage? There is no secret.
It's all about remembering the love you have for each other, in good times and in bad. It's about remembering to dance in the rain sometimes. And that can be taken literally! I love this picture of us dancing for many reasons.
1) It's totally not perfect. As you can see, my husband is wearing camo pants, a flannel shirt and work boots. Typical attire for working around the house, but not so attractive for photos. We are both dressed in our normal wear, on the dusty front porch, living everyday life.
2) In college, we used to two-step, a lot! It was one of our favorite things to do as a new couple. Now, after 3 kids, we don't find the time to go out two-stepping anymore. But, we do find a few minutes here and there to share a quick dance and remember how we met and who we were when we met all those years ago!
3) There is something romantic about living in the moment. Our song has always been "You Should Have Seen It In Color" by Jamey Johnson. Not real romantic, right? It's actually really sad. However, when you really listen to the lyrics, it talks about how great life is when it's lived in the moment. Pictures can be special and meaningful. But nothing is as special as real life when it's happening.
When we first decided to get married, we made a commitment to put God first in our relationship, always. We asked God to bless us as we followed Him. By doing that, it centered our marriage on our ROCK. We have never had to question our foundation because we know where it lies. In HIM.
In 8 years, we have lived a lot of life. We have had 3 babies with 1 on the way, bought 3 houses that we have lived in, started two brand new businesses and gone on many adventures! I'm thankful to have a man who believes in me, encourages me and chases adventures alongside me.
Here is what I've learned along the way:
1) Share your dreams, hopes and fears. Talk things through. Allow your spouse to be your best friend. No one else should fill that role.
2) Do date nights. Try to set a designated time frame in which you do your date nights. For this stage in our life and the lack of babysitters, once a month is most do-able for us. It's so important to re-connect and spend quality time together.
3) Create the family YOU want. It's not going to look like everyone else's. Heck, if I could have a quarter for the number of times people have told us we are "crazy", I would have a lot of quarters! And that's okay. People are not always going to understand your family (you and your huband's) decisions, motivations and goals. You have to be okay with that.
4) Sometimes you've gotta go to bed angry. I know, I know. I'm contradicting all marriage advice. But, seriously, usually things don't seem like such a big deal the next morning.
5) Prioritize your life. When your life is prioritized, things just go better. God, spouse, children, jobs. Create your family priority list. Be specific, be intentional and don't stray from what's important.
Like I often say, for our family, success begins on Sunday. We believe strongly in the importance in raising our family in church, making quality time a priority and realizing that life is never perfect, but God is always working.
This picture is a chalkboard sign I created for my kids' playroom. It's a representation of what I hope can be their life priorities as they grow up.
Creating your "life priorities" sounds a little intimidating, right? It's a little scary to put your biggest goals down on paper. It's also necessary and the only way to truly map out your plan for the future. While only God knows that many turns our lives will take, it's important to develop a desired path and ask him to guide your steps.
When I encouraged my team to read the book "Money Making Mom" by Crystal Paine, I knew this section would speak to all of us. I asked all the women to write down their life priorities. I then asked my assistant to type them all out, laminate them and distribute them to all the ladies. Now, their priorities are all down on paper. Forever. They took that step, completed the task and now the ground work is laid out.
As I began thinking about my life priorities, I began to really look inside myself and think about what I wanted to accomplish and fulfill most in life. This is not designed to be a dream list. It's an attainable representation of what you want your life to look life. Whenever you question a choice you are making or feel in a funk, review this list and see if your current decisions are aligning with your life priorities.
I now have mine displayed where I can see them, review them and hold myself accountable. Being vulnerable, I am going to share mine with you. Here they are:
Now, please know that your list is going to look different than mine. We all have unique gifts and abilities. Once you figure out what yours are, you will be better able to create your priorities list.
Also know that I fail sometimes to live up to these priorities. I'm not always a "Proverbs 31" wife...sorry hubby. But, this list helps to hold me accountable and makes me strive to be better.
So, go ahead, create your list. Be bold and laminate it so that you cannot go back. It's a small step that will make a big impact on your life.
Has it really already been five years in this crazy, insane, wonderful world of real estate? Sometimes it feels like less, while sometimes it feels like I have been in this career for a lifetime. When I first started, I realized that I had to jump in and swim! If I didn't, I would sink, and I don't accept defeat well. I jumped in head first, flourished and am now proud to say that I made it to the other side! I'm still continuously learning, growing and trying to become better! It's unbelievable to say, but in five years, I have helped over 200 families buy or sell homes!
I can only thank the Lord for this vision to start down this path. It's only because of Him and my faith that I have truly conquered and made it through! I am thankful to my husband who has always supported me and been my biggest fan. I'm thankful for my Brokers throughout the years who have helped mentor me, for my current company who treats me so well, and for all the professionals in the industry who do your job everyday to make selling homes possible! Thanks to Flow Media for creating this fun video to showcase my journey. You totally captured my vision! Thank you to my team for helping me grow as a leader, being patient with me as I transition and learn, for serving alongside me as we work to be the best we can be. Thank you for following me and believing in high goals and perseverance! As we say "Stay humble, hustle hard!"
Thank you to all my awesome clients! Thank you for trusting me with one of your most valuable assets, your home! I cannot wait to serve you and your referrals again and again in the years to come! Here's to the next fifty plus years being your Realtor! Ha!
And as for the future, well, I truly believe the best is yet to come.
In business and in life, we are all really just running on faith. When you own your own business, as I do, there are no guaranteed paychecks, no clients given to me, nothing that says my next few months or the year ahead will be successful. It's all a matter of faith, hard work and determination.
Isn't that true as we raise our families as well? We have nothing to guarantee our children will be safe, healthy and able to endure each new day. We simply have to trust God with our family's safety, health and futures! That's easy to say but sometimes hard to truly live. This is scary, uncomfortable and just plain uncommon. Our families were given to us by God so we must give them back to Him. Our businesses were inspired and brought into fruition by God so we must give Him our trust and allow him to work within us.
Hebrews 11:1 says "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."
This is one of my favorite verses in The Bible. It proves that God has called us to live a life of faith. Faith is not easy but it's so worth it. When you have faith, you can have peace and know that "God's got this".
I've read shirts that say "I'm just winging it". That may be true. But, it really comes down to the fact that God's in control. And when he's in control, we can live an intentional life.
These are the reasons I enjoy living a faith-filled life:
1) There is no need to worry or stress. God is in control anyway. Pray, do what he has called you to do and he will take care of the rest.
2) God will go above and beyond your wildest dreams if you just allow Him to have free reign over your entire life. He knows best anyway.
3) We are weak, but He is strong. What can I accomplish without Him, anyway? I choose to put my faith in the One who holds the World in His hands.
This one can be hard to hear. But here it is. In my opinion, here is what living a faith-filled life does NOT mean:
1) You do not get to pray and wait. You have to act. Pray and then go.
2) God provides to those who act in faith.
3) Work for what you want. Let God guide your path.
If your faith is having a tough time and you struggle with doubt, I encourage you to listen to these songs. Here are the lyrics:
On the mountains, I will bow my life to the one who set me there.
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there.
When I'm standing on the mountain aft, didn't get there on my own.
When I'm walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You're God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
-Song by Tauren Wells
If you've got pain, He's a pain taker.
If you feel lost, He's a way maker.
If you need freedom and saving, He's a prison-shaking Savior.
If you've got chains, He's a chain breaker.
-Song by Zach Williams
So realize the importance of turning over your business and your family to Him. I encourage you to live a life of faith TODAY.