There is nothing that makes me happier than enjoying time outdoors with my family. Fall provides the perfect time to do that! With the crisp weather, pumpkins, hay hales and so much fun in the air, there is plenty to do! I have complied a list of the Fall activities in the area that have received rave reviews! Some of them I have already attended, some are still on the list to do! If you have gone to any of these, please share!
Chester's Party Barn & Farm- Piedmont, OK @chesterspartybarn
Wings Fall Festival- Edmond, OK
P Bar Farms Corn Maze- Hydro, OK @PBarFarms
Pumpkinville- Botanical Gardens- Oklahoma City, OK
Orr Family Farm- Moore, OK
An Affair of the Heart- OKC Fairgrounds- Oct, 20-22
And we cannot forget about these annual events that take place in the Fall! Here are the dates for this year:
Halloween- Tuesday, Oct. 31
Thanksgiving- Thursday, Nov. 23
Black Friday Shopping- Friday, Nov. 24
Fall is also an excellent time to go camping! There is nothing that says chilly weather like a camp fire and roasting marshmallows! My kids absolutely love sleeping in a tent and being out in the woods. This is such a special family bonding time!
Football is an important activity here in Oklahoma. On any given Saturday, you can catch a football game and a game day feast somewhere!
And let's not forget about the wonderful food that comes with cooler weather. Soups, casseroles, yum! I'll be sharing some good recipes on here in the months to come!
For me, I love Fall attire. Leggings, scarves and boots are my favorite clothing choices! So, bring it on Fall! We are READY!
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.
Yeah, I get it. We're crazy. We've had 3 babies in 4 years. I understand that we are not your normal family with one of each and spaced apart nicely. I get it that we don't do things that others see as "normal" and our family marches to the beat of our own drum. We definitely like to make our own choices. So why did we do it? Simple. We wanted to.
Our first two are only 15 months apart. This was a difficult transition, simply because we had to learn to juggle, balance, and get used to having more than one baby constantly needing something. It was two in diapers, two at bath time and two car seats to buckle. During this time, I was working heavily on getting my real estate business rolling and my husband was in the beginning stages of starting his own business so he was working long hours and traveling a lot. I prayed a lot. We were balancing two new businesses and two babies. Literally. But it got easier over time. Much easier.
When our third blessing arrived, we went to "zone defense". For the rest of our lives actually. Two to three was a pretty seamless transition. The "big kids" were able to walk around, do a few things on their own, stay entertained by a TV show when needed and had set schedules so I knew when they would be napping, eating and their bedtime routines were established. We were both established in our businesses by this point so it was easier to work from home and plan our schedules.
Not everyone will understand your desire to have a big family. Not everyone will be happy for you. And that's okay. Our kiddos are such a blessing and have taught me so much about being a Mom and about unconditional love. We are trying to teach them the values of walking daily with God, the importance of attending church on Sundays, the desire to be outside and work hard for what they want. When we are working outside in the yard, they are there right along with us. When I'm cleaning inside, they are doing their part. When we go on a long hike, they are there hiking or riding along. They are experiencing life and it's many lessons by our side.
Life with three littles is not always easy but it's always worth it. They are constant companions, can always keep each other entertained with a game, a "campout" or an imaginary storyline they create. It's so neat to watch their imaginations work and their team building skills come to life. One of my favorite things is watching all three of them playing together. When I'm doing dishes and watching them from the kitchen window, it makes me so happy.
I am also TOTALLY able to relate to my clients with children and friends raising young ones. I think this helps me in my business of selling homes and on my podcast. I love encouraging other Moms, because I have been there. And I'm so thankful to say that though it's crazy, it's crazy wonderful.
"It's not how much time you spend, it's how you spend your time." -Brian Buffini
This year has been full of growth for me. I finally get it. I'm 30 years old ya'll...and I finally get it! Life is all about living intentionally. It's NOT waking up each day to discover what's going to happen to us, it's NOT doing our best when the opportunities present themselves, it's NOT about letting life "happen to us". It's about making the most out of our time and LIVING ON PURPOSE.
We all have the same amount of time in each day. 24 hours. How we prioritize that time is up to us. As moms, we dedicate so much of that time to our children. And that's as it should be. When we own a business, that business is our "baby" and takes a lot of time and nurturing as well. Many days, the 24 hours we are given is not enough. But, we must make it count. Here are the ways I make sure my time is being spent well:
Do one thing every day. This is so important when you have a long-term goal in mind for your business, your family or both! Even though you cannot do it ALL every day. You can do a little bit every day, every single day. If you are trying to grow your business, set a goal to make 5 new contacts every day, write 5 note cards or 5 make phone calls. If you are trying to spend more quality time with your children, read one book per day, sing 3 songs together each day or spend 20 minutes outside together. All the little things will add up to become BIG THINGS.
The key to all of this is to LIVE INTENTIONALLY. Have a purpose behind why you do what you do. When you discover the value to intentional living, that's when your BEST LIFE can begin.
"Make sure you put the BIG things FIRST."
Our pastor, Joshua Cossey, said these words during church service this week. During this message, he spoke about finding your rhythm. He did a demonstration with rocks and sand. In a vase, he stacked up the big rocks first, followed by smaller pebbles and then finally, sand. When the materials were arranged in this manner, everything fit. The foundation was stable, so it had room for the little pebbles and the sand. Lesson- Building your life on a firm foundation (Jesus and his word) allows you to live peacefully and not just survive, but thrive!
In the world of motherhood, we have so many things coming at us at once! Raising the kids, working, taking care of the house, grocery shopping, taking care of our husband, planning the kids' schedules and so much more! We do a lot. There is no doubt. But if we don't build the framework correctly, things will shift and come toppling down all around us! I see it all the time. Mommas wonder why they cannot make it all fit. They wonder why they cannot find balance. Here are the elements the way that I see them:
In order to balance our lives and wear the many hats that are required of us, we must first make sure our foundation is firm. Here is how to build a strong foundation:
Do these things and you will succeed. Build a firm foundation, prioritize your life and make sure your big rocks, pebbles and sand are in line.
This was a tough one to write because I feel vulnerable writing about the past. However, it's been on my heart a lot lately so here I go!
If you're like me, you learned a lot from your past experiences. High school and college were big teachers and even though there were difficult circumstances in each, looking back, I am thankful for them all. Growing up, I was always the young girl who was in charge of the "club". My friends and I would start a lemonade club, babysitters club, bible study club, you name it. And I always wanted to be the one in charge. One thing each of these had in common was that the "popular crowd" made fun of these and laughed at us. I always included whoever wanted to join, all the kids who were mistreated or didn't fit in. I didn't think much of it at the time but looking back, I realize that. People were always just people to me, I didn't separate them based on social status, color or popularity. That's to the credit of the way my parents raised me. When my best friends and I were in junior high, we held bible study at lunch each day, many of the cool kids laughing the background. Later, these same kids would tell me how much they admired my friends and I for our beliefs and bravery.
I don't know how to explain where I fit in. I was not unpopular, but I didn't hang out with the cool crowd. I was friends with everyone. I hung out with my parents on most weekends if I wasn't playing sports. I won Homecoming Queen my sophomore year. I dealt with a ton of jealousy during basketball season. We all know there are mean girls and well, I was surrounded by them. I was defeated often and didn't reach my potential because I let their meanness hurt me. Sports taught me SO much about working hard for a goal, being tough both mentally and physically and accomplishing goals through teamwork. Looking back, although painful at times, most of my lessons learned came from a basketball court.
In college, I was in my element. I was friends with everyone, played all the sports available and was a part of everything! I even won Homecoming Queen during my sophomore year at SWOSU. I loved school, I loved the activities and I loved being a leader. However, there were definitely some mean girls and once again, I let them run over me more than I should have. Fast forward.
Now, I am thirty and thriving. I learned so much from sports, including overcoming jealousy, standing up for myself, being confident in who I am and just believing in my purpose. I have chosen to let the past fuel me. And you know what? It's freeing! I have achieved so much now that I don't worry about jealousy or what others think. I am strong, independent and confident. And those mean girls? Ha! Who's laughing now?
I encourage you to let your past fuel you! Let it be your teacher. Let it make you better.
It's so true that as women, we are fueled by the people we surround ourselves with. Whether that be family, friends or work associates, we become who we hang out with. As Pastor Craig Groeschel says "Show me your friends and I will show you your future".
I have such a passion for inspiring other women to live their best lives! That can only be done when we first change our "circle" to ensure we are surrounded by positive individuals. I'm not saying we can't have friends who are on the negative side or that we can't take a friend out for coffee who is down in the dumps. In fact, it's necessary to sow into other people who need encouragement! It becomes a downfall when you allow these people to influence your behavior and attitude. That happens when we spend too much time in negative situations with negative personalities. Jesus calls us to be "a light unto the World" and we should be! If we don't showcase his light, who will? But, in order to be equipped to do this, we must be surrounded by individuals who motivate, inspire and cause us to be the best versions of ourselves.
In order to do this, we need to periodically evaluate our friend list. It's okay to distance yourself from friends who don't fit well into---you becoming a better YOU! Never, ever burn bridges but put a space in there if necessary, through prayer and following God's leading.
I've been reading a book this week, "Girl Code" and the author, Cara Alwill Leyba, says "Your vibe attracts your tribe". This really stuck with me! I find so much truth in this! When you're positive, you attract positive people. That's just the way it is. When you have a good outlook on life, are happy and wear a smile, like-minded individuals will surface and be added into your circle.
Look for ways to compliment other women. As females, we need compliments every now and then! Tell a friend or even a stranger that you like her outfit, her hair, etc. And be genuine when you say it! This can make a world of difference in someone's day. And when we bless others, we in turn, are blessed.
I am so honored to be surrounded by wonderful women on my Real Estate team. They are all positive, Christian ladies working toward a common goal and I honestly could not be more proud to call them my tribe. I also have several friend groups including my bible study group, real estate friends and friends with kiddos. I make it a point to spend time with each of these groups in order to build relationships and cultivate growth and trust.
Another way we can surround ourselves with positive influences is by reading and listening to good content. Whether that be Christian radio, an upbeat podcast or a great book, these are all avenues to lift our spirits. I love reading books about other female entrepreneurs who have achieved success. I can learn from them and cast a vision for my future. I also love a good podcast when I'm driving. They allow me to zone in, focus and listen to some helpful content. Fill your mind with things that matter!
Be your best, surround yourself with positivity and pour into others. When you feel inspired, you will most definitely be the best YOU.