Monday, September 27, 2010

A Not-so-Healthy Me

Since I have made this whole book writing thing a major endeavor of mine I have been a big fat slacker in terms of my health. I have pretty much taken a sabbatical from the health nut that I was/still am. The only thing I really have stuck to is being vegetarian. But I've been a very unhealthy vegetarian. And I've been a poorly rested person. Those are two things I still believe play the biggest role in a person's health.
My only excuse is that I have been desperately busy. On top of trying to get my first book ready to submit to a literary agent, I have been studying to pass my securities licensing exams. So I have sacrificed many things.

One is having a relatively clean house. It's not that I was the best housekeeper before, but I would reckon I am even worse now. I generally clean when I can't concentrate because the pile of dishes are bothering me too much, or Novan has no clean clothes to wear to school. That's hardly my main issue though, just a mildly annoying one.

I used to spend a lot of time cooking, and I made weekly visits to the grocery store, and I planned out my weekly menus. Eating healthy was at the top of my list. Now, partly because of budget restraints pending our RIA deal I mentioned in an earlier post, but mostly because I spend my time studying or writing/editing, I make meals that I am ashamed of like grilled cheese, scrambled eggs, pasta pasta and more pasta, rice and beans, rice and beans, and very few veggies. Ok so the rice and beans aren't so bad health-wise, but I'm rather sick of them. In any case, I haven't had the usual vibrant diet that I am used to. Dinner, I would say, hasn't been so bad. I have begun making more effort there once I finished the first drafts of all three books. But I hardly eat any breakfast, and lunch is an annoying interruption in my day and I usually fill my annoying grumbling stomach with something unhealthy like crackers and cheese, or toast, or the leftover crust pieces my kids leave behind from their PB&J. It's sad. It's really really sad. Yes, I feel like a slob a little. It is evidenced in my weight as well. I have lost around 7 pounds from my usual constant weight. People don't generally see weight loss as a bad thing. It's a shame though that that weight-loss has mostly occurred because I've starved myself-- not eating breakfast much and very little lunch.

The other thing, a big thing, is sleep. I used to swear by 8+ hours of sleep. Now sleep has moved down several notches on the priority list. There's simply no other time to get things done except in the middle of the night when kids and sometimes husband are asleep. That madness has toned down a bit since I finished first drafts. Editing is far less consuming so I seem to be able to convince myself to get to bed at a semi-decent hour now. Before, I was staying up until 2 and 3 in the morning on a regular basis and waking up at 7:30. That time took quite a toll on my overall health. I could literally feel the physical difference, and I experienced weird signs of my ill-health like odd heart rhythms at weird times, fatigue in my limbs, and feeling generally drained physically. Mentally I was and am better than ever. I have been on the high of my life getting those words on paper but I saw my sacrifice real-time. So while my sleep has improved a little and I cook a little more than I was during that crazed-obsessed woman period, I still have a general feeling of unwell. The most obvious thing is my skin which has been plagued with all kinds of zit-nastiness. I rarely got zits before but now I get them on a regular basis. The other regularly noticeable thing is headaches. I only ever got headaches if I spent too much time out in the sun. Now I get them every other day or so. Not migraines or anything but headaches are something I never had to deal with before.

Ok, so stop whining right? Yes, I definitely need to make a change here soon. I have to find some kind of balance because I am literally feeling like there are just not enough hours in the day. Why are there not more hours in a day??? I could really use a minimum of 2 or 3 more. I might be able to swing all this craziness at once then.

There are two things I have learned through this whole process though. You are what you eat and what you eat has a definite impact on your health. I have probably shortened my life span or something just by abusing my body the way I have these past 3 1/2 months. The other thing is that passion and zeal for what you do has a way of making bodily ills seem inconsequential. I wouldn't go back and change any of the past months. I know that my current poor health is not permanent, but I have to say that I would give it up permanently in exchange for a life as fulfilled as I have had in these past months. Give me my writing, my new appreciation for myself, seeing my kids in a new light and appreciating my husband the way I have these past months and you can keep my former perfect health.

Good thing I don't actually have to do that... but I'd sure be willing if that sacrifice were really necessary. As it stands, I just have to figure out how to get more hours in the day....

On a totally unrelated note, I have to share this conversation I had with Novan:
I cleaned Novan's room today, putting all his toys back in the toy-box, etc.
This evening, I hear Novan grumbling to himself in the other room: Where's Optimus' other leg? I don't know where it is...
Novan appears in the kitchen where I am folding laundry and says: I don't like cleaning.
Me: Me neither Novan. Yet, somebody's got to do it.
Novan: I don't like it when you clean my room. I can't find my Transformers.
Me: (laughing) Oooooh.You find them better when they are all over the floor?
Novan: Yes mom. I don't like cleaning. Can you not clean my room anymore?

You got it kid. Note to self: Next time make Novan clean the room, that way, he knows where he put his own toys.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

CNBC article and some more funny stuff

CNBC thought our parody was funny as well and featured it in their "Funny Business" section. You can read that article by clicking HERE.

Also, we put the outtakes together and you can watch those below. Some of them are actually pretty funny, like us leaving the kids because we didn't stop the elevator in time. The elevator scene was really hard to shoot cuz those darn things kept leaving before we could get the shot. I also love "the worm" dance move in real time. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Manners according to Beya

The other day Brad instructed Beya on saying 'excuse me' when she farts. She thinks farting is hilarious and she always tells you and starts giggling. The other day though, Beya burped.
Beya: (giggling) 'Scuse me!
Me: Thank you for saying excuse me. That was very nice. (I was thinking how intuitive of her to know to say excuse me when she burps since we only told her about farting)
Beya: (still giggling) I farted out of my mouth so I said 'scuse me! (more giggling) I'm silly!
 Ah, I see where the intuition came from now.

Today the kids and I were swinging on the front porch swing. Beya was pushing us.
Novan: Beya, push faster!
Beya: Novan, don't talk to me that way!
Me: Novan, if you want Beya to do something, how do you ask?
Beya: Novan, can you say, 'Please can you go faster?'
Novan: Please can you go faster Beya?
Beya: Yes Novan. Thank you for saying please Novan.
Uh, ok. So apparently Beya would do a better job being the mom.

Man this girl cracks me up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

If you ever wanted to learn something about the markets....

Brad and I did a Ke$ha/Jim Cramer parody video with our summer interns that I think is hilarious! You should watch it, you might just learn something about the capital markets!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Love, Hugs, and Wal-Mart

I wish I could rig a video camera to follow Beya around all day and catch all the things she says. She is such an example to everyone who is around her. I would venture to estimate that 75% of what she says is love related. Hugging is probably in her top 5 favorite acitivities... that and going to Wal-Mart apparently. Here are some examples of some things that she says on a daily basis:

I'm afraid Beya has staked a claim on her brother. She's quite protective apparently.
Today after I was took Novan to school:
Beya: Momma, is Novan going to play with boys at school?
Mom: Yes Beya.
Beya: Novan can't play with the girls though.
Me: Novan can play with girls too.
Beya: No mom! Novan only likes me!

Beya must say the sentence "I love you." fifteen times a day, no joke. She tells everyone she loves them, multiple times. It's usually accompanied with a hug and she even finds new and original ways to say it.
This morning Beya hugs my leg while I'm making oatmeal and says: Momma, I love you. You're my best girl!
Me: Awww! Can I be your best girl forever?
Beya: (nodding) Mmm Hmm.

I always chuckle when I hear Novan and Beya interacting. When they actually converse and don't think I'm paying attention, they are quite civil. It's like listening to a little gentleman and lady and I am reminded that I really have managed to teach them some manners.
I'm making Novan's lunch for school and Beya asks me to turn the transformer she's holding into a car)
Me: I'm busy making Novan's lunch for school. I bet Novan can transform it for you.
Beya: Novan, can you turn this into a car? (hands the transformer to Novan)
Novan: Ok Beya. 
Beya: Oh thank-you Novan! (Hugs Novan and gives him a kiss) Novan, you're my best friend! I'm going to miss you when you go to school Novan.
Novan: Sorry Beya, this transformer's missing a piece. I can't do it.
Beya: Oh. Ok, Novan. I still love you.

Beya's regard is not limited to Novan. She points out to everyone she sees that Iyov is her brother. "This is my brother Iyov." "Iyov is my brother" "That's Iyov. He's my brother." and so forth.
Beya: Momma, I was a baby like Iyov!
Me: Yep, you were little once just like Iyov.
Beya: And Iyov loves me!
Me: He does love you.
Beya: I love my brother Iyov, he's my friend.

I have no idea where Beya got her ideas about Wal-Mart because I rarely take any of my children there, instead preferring to have Brad look after them while they nap and I go to the store. But here it is... the girl is a walking Wal-Mart advertisement.

Beya comes to me one morning.
Beya: Momma, I can get some wings and I can be a butterfly girl!
Me: Well you can get wings but you won't be able to fly with them. But you can look like a butterfly.
Beya: But momma, they have wings at the Wal-Mart.

Beya: Momma, can I have a cookie?
Me: I don't have any cookies.
Beya: We can go get some cookies Momma.
Me: We don't have enough quarters to get cookies right now Beya.
Beya: But Momma, we don't need quarters to buy cookies. They have cookies at Wal-Mart!

Beya: I need to have a magic wand so I can be a fairy.
Me: A magic wand?
Beya: Yes. Can I get a magic wand?
Me: Well I can try to make a wand for you but I don't think it will be magic.
Beya: But they have magic wands at Wal-Mart Momma!

Yes, apparently Wal-Mart carries pretty much anything the mystical creature might need or want... including cookies that are free. But man oh man, do I love my little beetle-bug Beya.

<--Beya's fashion accessory for this particular day was jackets. She was intrigued by how many jackets she owns and was changing in and out of them all day. Then she had me put new batteries in Tickle Me Elmo and decided that the "safest place" (her words, not mine) for him was in her jacket, and then she said I should take a picture. There you have it. She's the rockingest little girl I know. Man oh man, what a lucky man she will marry one day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Things of Eternal Worth

Brad and I recently started trying to start what's called an RIA for our company, Magnum Opus Financial. RIA stands for Registered Investment Advisor. There are a number of reasons we have started trying to do this, and perhaps one of the biggest and most necessary reasons is because as an RIA, Brad can manage money without having to go through a broker dealer and thereby handing over a huge cut of his advisory fees. It would increase our income by almost double. It is an intensive process, lots of confusing paperwork and also me trying to get my securities licenses again so that we can hang on to his smaller clients and also continue to receive life insurance commissions. These type of accounts cannot be moved over to an RIA. The reasons are all complicated and I'll spare you the details.
So, why am I telling you this? Well because in order to start and maintain an RIA according to NC state SEC requirements, we have to keep a pool of $10,000 in our corporate account. For years we have managed to scrape by with Brad's income, credit cards on and off, student loans, and every now and then we have had to pull from our rainy day savings. We now have no savings left... except our retirement accounts which we have been absolutely strict about never touching. Being an investment adviser and financial planner, Brad and I both know how important it is to start saving small early, that way you don't turn 40 and find you have to start saving massive amounts in order to retire with an adequate yearly income. You just can't beat time as a means of accumulating a large retirement account. So, I bet you can guess where this is going. In order to start our RIA we are going to have to liquidate a large portion of our retirement savings.
I'm not worried really, because Heavenly Father has ALWAYS looked out for us, and also because I know how much more we will bring home and will almost entirely cover our monthly expenses, whereas now we do not cover them. BUT, liquidating these retirement accounts will dissolve the last safety net we have in place. It is a HUGE risk, but a necessary one. I suppose I was feeling a little desperate, and sad, and worried, and unsure, and mostly I was upset over having to take FURTHER risks with our family's financial well-being. Brad and I have lived on taking risks. We've spent money on things to promote our company and Brad has taken trips to conference after conference to meet influential people in our business and promote the company, sleeping in his car because we couldn't afford a hotel room, staying away in California to take care of and gain new clients for weeks on end just so we could maintain the meager income we enjoy, and working endless hours in his office away from us, just so he could figure out how to make it all work. He does all this even though we really couldn't afford any of it, even though it meant our kids didn't get Christmas presents and even though it meant we had to put our monthly expenses on a credit card from time to time. It's simply because we have both believed that in the end, the risk would be worth it. Some people probably think we're crazy for it, but success always requires risks, just like the stock market, the bigger the risk, the bigger the return.
Anyway, I'm not trying to get sympathy cards from anyone or depress you or gain pity, I just wanted you to kind of get where we are, my state of mind, etc. So today, while Brad and I realized that the retirement account liquidation was necessary, I went downstairs from his office to have lunch with the kids and started to say our meal prayer. I started crying partway into it, praying for things to turn out ok and that I trusted Him to get us through this, to be our safety net since we would no longer have a monetary one. When I was done and I'm all sniffling and wiping the tears away, Beya says to me, "Don't cry Momma...Momma, you're not supposed to cry when you pray."
I explained to her how sometimes when we talk to God we're sad about things that are happening, and that it's ok to tell him how we feel and its ok to cry if things make us sad. God doesn't mind.
So Beya looks thoughtful, and after a minute says, "Well maybe we should pray that you can not be sad anymore Momma."
Of course I agreed and she said a prayer for me that God would help me to feel better. It was hard not to cry at that. I wanted to answer her prayer and not cry anymore but it was just so touching, and I had to try my darndest to keep a stoic face.
 Look, I have faith that things are and will be ok, and even if we suffer an even bigger financial flop, we will still be ok. It doesn't take a house and good credit score to be happy, and I realize that. But Heavenly Father distributed one of his many tender mercies through my daughter to reiterate that I already have so much that is of infinite worth. What wonderful children I have; what a wonderful church and restored gospel I am able to share with my children so that they are in tune with the Spirit enough to in turn share the Spirit with me when I need it. I have a hardworking husband who understands what sacrifice is and how it can and will transform our lives if we simply stick to it and stand by it. His perseverance astounds me every day and makes me believe in myself. As Dieter Uchtdorf said, "You are no ordinary beings, you are glorious and eternal." Brad has shown me this more than anyone else, and I am thankful to him for that. How blessed am I!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Select the Channel Which You will Attune Yourselves To

I think that many people do not understand the LDS concept of "The Spirit." We believe that the Spirit, AKA Holy Ghost is what gives us inspiration and guides us when we are living our lives in such a way that we have attuned ourselves to hear it. The Holy Ghost is NOT God, but a separate being, as Jesus Christ is. The Holy Ghost gives us guidance and direction under the direction of God. The Holy Ghost is part of the three members of the Godhead; they are separate but one in purpose and mission. Oh, how grateful am I for the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; it is more prevalent in my life every day.