Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Open, Bold, & Vulnerable

"Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame." Romans 5: 4-5
"To be alive is to be vulnerable"
When I was 17 years old social media was made up of an online community called Myspace. Does anyone remember this? It was like Facebook only different. One could post pictures, comment on people’s wall’s, and follow others. If someone wanted he or she could customize his or her page too. People were able to design their wall almost like if someone were to design their own web page. I so enjoyed going on Myspace. I remember going there quite often. Myspace opened up a door for me. It was through this social media outlet that I began to write again.  

I began writing when I was a child. I loved it. In fact it was my second grade teacher that drew out this gift in me. Mrs. Pane. She was a skinny yet tall lady with reddish-brown hair. Mrs. Pane taught us math, reading, science, and social studies. I remember her class so well because I dreaded her math tests. She would make us add and subtract using dried black beans and I would think to myself “what is the point of this?” I dreaded her class most of the day but, when it came time to the subject of reading I loved it! The reason for this was not because she made us read interesting books. No, it was because she made us read our own stories to the class. Our assignments would consist of putting together a story and then getting up every week in front of the class to read it. It was the only subject I excelled in. I had quite the imagination. 

In middle school I took a creative writing class. Although I talked a lot and never worked quietly I put much effort into this class. I remember having different assignments. Writing poems, learning the rules of writing, learning about imagery, and so on. Yet again, my favorite part was storytelling.  I enjoyed making up stories. The best part was when others got to read the stories I wrote. However, eventually I stopped writing. Issues at home as well as out of home were pressing and little by little I quenched my desire to write. However, I began writing again when Myspace came out. They had this feature similar to the old Notes of Facebook. Through this function I was able to write down my thoughts, process them, and share them with the world. It was on Myspace that others began to notice my writings. Some people would tell me that I really had a gift. Eventually someone told me that I should start a blog. Did I? No. I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t believe in myself enough to start a blog. I thought that was only for serious writers who one day would be authors. And for me writing was something fun and it was a way to express myself. Never though, did I consider myself to be a serious writer.

Eventually I came across this blog called Chasing Kite Tails. A friend of mine from college started this blog as a way to connect with other women who were actively chasing after their dreams. This was a place that these women can connect, tell their stories, and challenge one another to grow. My friend (Rae) would post posts about the journey of chasing after ones dreams. It was through her blog that I began to get enough courage to start my own. Back then I thought her blog was a way to chase after my goals of running and exploring Miami. However, little did I know it really was a way for me to get back to writing. Since then I have had three blogs.  1. On an Adventure 2. Lil bit of Grace 3. (My current blog) Healthy Living by Grace Olivieri. As I started my third blog I told myself that I would post content that would always uplift my readers. See, in my other blogs I did this however, I also took the liberty of posting my vulnerabilities freely. I wanted Healthy Living to look professional, inspiring, and neat. Somewhere along the line I believed the lie that if I was too vulnerable people would be turned off and stop reading. So along came the promise to myself; I told myself that if I was having a bad day I would just wait till I felt better to post something others would enjoy reading. I mean who really wanted to hear my woes? Well, with that promise came alone the reality that I put away my authenticity. It stopped writing about the pains and the challenges I was facing. This only isolated me as a blogger. Furthermore, I wasn’t being 100 percent genuine with my readers. And what is the point of a lifestyle blog if you can’t use your grief and pain to bring peace to others?

So, here I am. Being completely honest and vulnerable. I have days you see. Days in which I do not want to get out of bed. Days that it takes me forever to accomplish a simple task. Days like yesterday in which I choose to see the negative side of things and hide from my greatness. People, I now want to take the time to say I am sorry. Forgive me for the days I refused to follow through. The days I did not post because everything was falling apart and I was too scared to let you in on it. The days I decided to sit in front of the TV rather than write because looking into a blank screen and being honest was a task too daunting and I did not want to have to deal with it. It is now that I realize that the darker moments are filled with light too. These are the moments that allow my spirit to breathe; they are the posts that allow me to get it all out on the table and they are the posts that remind others that they are not alone. Posts filled with the author’s vulnerability allow readers to feel understood. The words give readers a sense of validation and then my readers can go in their day, inspired, understood, and empowered. So for now on I promise to not runaway when life gets messy. I promise to stick to blogging even when the words do not flow the way I want them to. I promise to be bold, honest, and consistent even when it’s the last thing I want to do.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to being more open with you all!

If you were able to relate to this post and want someone to connect with please contact me! I would love to hear from and process life with you!



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dumping Debt

Thank you for coming back for the third part of Financial Freedom. For those of you who waited long enough I am so thankful to you for your patience. This post is overdue. I had wanted to post this up a while ago however, other things took precedence. 

But, I am glad to say that FINALLY the post you all have been waiting for is here. How to Get Out of Debt! In my last post I covered the topic of building an emergency fund. I mentioned why it was important, what an emergency fund is, and what it is not. Assuming that you all have either established your emergency fund or have begun saving for it, it is safe to say that we can now talk about getting out of debt. As I mentioned before I took a course called Financial Peace University and it rocked my world. For the first time the topic of finances started making sense.

The course is taught by Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey has educated others all over the world on the issue of dumbing debt. He is good at teaching how to get rid of debt and his methods work. Please understand that this post along with Dave Ramsey’s teachings is not about how to get rid of your debt quickly. It is not about paying off the loan with the highest interest rate. That method works for some and if it does then stick to it. However, Dave Ramsey’s methods is all about changing behavior. For those who take his course you know that it is mostly about taking baby steps. The majority of people who take his course don’t understand the first things bout the financial world so, he developed a strategy that would give people power of their finances while taking steps that avoid frustration so that others can stay committed to their plan. This strategy works because it allows the individual to see change gradually and it doesn’t overwhelm the individual who is trying to get rid of debt.   

First thing first. Dave Ramsey wants you to be aware of how much debt you have. He asks that you add up all your credit cards, car payments, medical bills, student loans…ETC. Do not forget about student loans. This is a debt! For some reason people forget that this is a debt. Now, after you have added up everything he suggests that you take the debt with the lowest amount owed and that you start to pay it off. This means that if your minimum payment is 25 dollars on your lowest amount owed on your credit card then each month you will set aside 25 dollars to pay of your card.

Once you paid off this card and cut it up, then the 25 dollars a month you were paying before will get added to the next debt. So, the next debt is to pay off your car payments. So you pay the minimum and then you add 25 dollars extra to that minimum. This is called the snow ball effect. Again, this may not be the quickest way to get rid of you debt, as your debt with higher interest rates will be growing. However, this is the way to change your behavior, it is the way to get used to handling your money, and it is the way that allows you to see progress in a tangible and non- overwhelming way. You will continue to do this with all your debts. Once the car is paid off this will free up money for your next payment on your next debt owed. You will then be able to start paying off your next debt and you will add to the minimum of the next debt the previous minimums you were paying on your other debts. See below:

Breakdown of Monthly Payments

Walmart Credit Card - $25.00 /month – OVER TIME THIS IS PAID OFF

Car Payment $133.00 / month – OVER TIME THIS IS PAID OFF

TIME TO PAY THIS: Medical Bills $50.00/month

25.00 + 133.00 + 50.00

Of course if there is a need that you must take care of like paying back the IRS then you need to handle that first and maybe hold off on the medical bills. Your budget will never be the same you will always have to adjust it.

Last Note

Dave Ramsey suggests that you also get a buddy who can keep you accountable. Preferably a buddy who can challenge you. You do not want the friend who will say “well, you can always pay that off later let’s go shopping!” NO! You want a buddy that can look at your budget, see your needs, and play with the numbers so that every month your budget pans out. You may also want to get a buddy who not only will challenge you but, can also be flexible. You do not need a person who will overwhelm you and lead you to failure. Remember this is about behavior. Behavioral changes do not happen overnight.  This is a slow process. If you get someone who will remind you of how HARD this is then you most likely will not stick to your financial plan.

Now, I know I wrote a lot about budgets yet we did not go over how to make a zero based budget. This is important because this will help you with your plan of dumping debt. Please go to the Dave Ramsey website and down load his tools for a zero based budget. This will rock your world! I know because it is rocking mine!

Thank you again for stopping by. If this post touched your heart, challenged you, or motived you please share it on facebook. Also if you want to chat please visit my Contact Me page and check me out via social media or email.

Have a great day!

Link: http://www.daveramsey.com/home/