Monday, May 22, 2017

Mixed Messages

Since the start of this year, my friend and I have been playing a little game.  We never discussed the rules, we simply started playing one day, and it has continued at least once a week since.  We both were going through similar situations, me getting my work hours cut, and her having surgery on her foot and unable to even walk for months, so we knew we would have to encourage each other to keep a positive attitude, because we didn't want to add depression to these already difficult circumstances.

I don't remember who sent the first message, but it doesn't really matter.  Instead of sending each other what we'd read in our morning devotional, we'd simply send each other the verse, making the other person get in the Bible, even if it were only for one sentence.  Then, the other person would respond with another bible verse that adds on to the previous verse.  The game continues until we run out of verses to respond with or it gets so far out of context that it no longer makes much sense.

I have the slight issue of sending her verses, only to have her respond with "WHAT?"  And then I will realize I had a slight moment of dyslexia, and send her the correct verse.  For example, on Mother's day, instead of sending her a verse about God's love, my typo had her read a verse about killing babies.

Today, started with message from her telling me it was the first morning she woke up with a normal looking leg, there was no swelling, and she could actually put on her shoe!  So, I responded with what I thought was John 9:3...but really sent John 3:9, luckily, I caught the mix up before she did.  But she told me to just go and read what I sent her anyway....

John 3:9
"How can this be?"  Nicodemus asked.

Yep.  That's the verse.  "How can this be?"  I couldn't have planned it better if I'd tried.

The verse I actually meant to send her was a little more encouraging, "....but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."  It comes from the story of the blind man being healed, but I'm kinda wishing I would have left it at "How can this be?"  because I would have loved to know what her responding verse was going to be!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bucket List #35...Check

I haven't done anything with my hair in years, unless you count growing it out and trimming it off every couple months.  I haven't done any color or new cuts.  I've just been plain-Jane in the hair department and I've been okay with this...because I have really great hair!  Seriously.  The reason I get my hair cut is because my hair is so thick that it gets too heavy to pull back and stay up.  "You have so much hair..."  is a common comment from hair stylists, and I always reply with reminding them I'm the one who has to deal with the thick, heavy, curls day in and day out.  "People would kill for hair like this."  And I understand, because I know what it's like to throw my hair up in a bun and the struggle of putting my niece's thin hair up in a pony tail.  I'd pick mine too!

So, about a year ago, I decided I wanted to go purple.  I didn't have a reason for picking purple besides having confidence I could rock the color more than any other color.

However, thinking about going purple and actually making the appointment to go purple are completely different things!  So, I tipped my toes into the great adventure of purple hair as a birthday present when I turned 34... but we didn't lighten my hair and the color washed out the next day.  I was a bit sick knowing how much I paid for 24 hours of purple hair that no one even noticed!  I liked the color but I knew if I was going to really go purple, it wasn't going to be a short process.

A few weeks ago, a hairstylist friend of mine asked if I could reupholster some chairs for her.  I accepted the job in exchange for purple hair.

The catch was I had to do the upholstery project overnight... like in an Extreme Home Makeover kind of situation. (I'm trying to think of a more relevant show...unless that show is still on...ok, you caught me... I don't watch tv...)  I picked them up one night after working on the farm, tore one apart to assess the foam situation, then headed to the store to get supplies.  At the crack of dawn the following morning, I set up shop in my parents garage and ripped a hole in my hand from tearing apart the cushions so fast.

Everything was going smoothly and I was making good time, the only thing I was struggling with was the arm rests, mostly because the screws kept stripping.  Before I knew it, it was time for me to "take a break" and head to the farm to do some work.  When I got done with that job, I took a shower, and headed back to finish the chairs so they could be delivered, and reinstalled, before she opened up the salon the following morning.

What should have been a quick job of reattaching the handles on the chairs, turned into a long evening of trying to figure out how to make something work and cover up the evidence.  It didn't take long for me to recruit my parents to help me hold, and/or drill.

Once it was finished, I loaded up the car and took them into the salon.  The reinstalling part didn't go smooth either, and it took the both of us, and a lot of patient team work to put them together again.  But once the were installed.... I'll admit it, it looked good!  

She was pleased, gave me some dining room seats to do, and I made an appointment for the following week.  The dining room chairs were easy and went smoothly.  Again, I gave myself a pat on the back for being so dang good at upholstery.  Since we've been slow at the shop, I've considered buying an industrial machine and really going at it and starting a business, because I know it's something I have the skills for, however, I also know how hard it is on my hands and I haven't missed the mornings of numb and achy hands with the slower work schedule.  However, I'm currently not going to turn away any projects that come my way and that I am capable of doing with the supplies I have.

Today was the day of my appointment and I excitedly went in to the salon with the finished dining room chairs.  Installation went much smoother, however, it still required teamwork...and a screwdriver.  (I took a philips but I needed a flathead....luckily she keeps a toolbox in the shop!)  

Then, the new look began!

And lighting my hair was quite the process.  

Four hours later, and a few remarks from the other elderly clients  (mixed reviews, some liked it, some hated it, some told me I rocked it and it was amazing....)  I finally got to look in the mirror and see what I looked like with purple hair!


I seriously don't know if I'll ever be able or willing to go back to my natural color...but I'm pretty sure my budget will determine how long I can keep up with it!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Currently: (How is it) May Edition

Every once in a while I take the time to look around and what's been going on in my life.  Sometimes the little things are worth remembering.

Current job:  Part-time upholsterer, part-time farm help/odd jobs, part-time Beachbody coach

Current weather: Cold, cloudy, possibly rainy and definitely windy
Current (audio) book:  Gut Balance Revolution by Gerard E. Mullin, MD

Current book:  No God but One - Nabeel Qureshi
Current obsession: Figuring out how to make money doing things I enjoy

Current favorite song:   Justin Nozuka - After Tonight

Current Netfix marathoning tv show:  It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Current challenge: Giving money away, 365 days of inversions, and 52 hikes 

Current blessing:  Where to begin?!?!  The money that keeps coming to me, the fact that my needs are still being met, the fact that life is good?!?

Current triumph:  Finding my fitbit charger.  I know, seems silly but I tore apart my whole place trying to find it
Current outfit:  shorts, tank top, sweater 

Currently thinking about:  if the coffee maker is going to work 

Current craving:  chocolate chip banana bread

Currently looking for in a future spouse:  a man of faith, with a heart full of love for God.

Last movie seen in theater:  Beauty and the Beast (and it was amazing!)

Last thing I ate: homemade chipolte bowl

Number of hikes last month:  8...running total of 15/52

Number of dates: 3

Something I learned last month:  You can't control life, but you can control how you react to life.
Yesterday I…  worked at the upholstery shop, worked at the farm, slid in the mud, almost landed in a pile of horse poo, wandered around Walmart for over an hour looking for 2 items, hit 20,000 steps
Today I… did yoga and meditated, worked at the upholstery shop, worked on the farm, searched for my fitbit charger and blogged
Tomorrow I…  am finishing up a side upholstery job and working on the farm

Wanna see the first part of my side upholstery job?

What are you currently up to?

Friday, April 28, 2017

When Paying it Forward Backfires

I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to work on giving money away for 29 days.  Let me tell you, it is much harder than I imagined.  The first few days were easy, giving a dollar to my neighbor, throwing change into a tip jar, and dropping a few quarters in my apartment complex's hallway, but then, I discovered, that when you don't spend any time with other humans, or go anywhere but to a farm, giving money away becomes a little more challenging!.

So, today, while I was relistening to You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, I was reminded of my on going goal of giving money away, and I hadn't given any money away in three days.  I decided it was finally time to go grocery shopping... something I haven't done in months.  Yes.  Months.  (Last month I challenged myself to not get any groceries until April, and I got so good at cleaning out my cupboards and working with what I had, I didn't need to go to the store other than for one or two ingredients.  I believe I only spent $15 on food for the month of April.  I would also like to note several people gave me food such as potatoes, apples, spaghetti squash, and avocados, to name a few).

My dad had given me a left over visa gift card and he told me to use it to get some groceries.  I followed his advice, and headed to Aldi's to purchase some fresh fruits and vegetables.  My mouth was salivating at the thought of a salad.  (This is how I know I am lacking with my nutrition... I was craving a salad.  I love vegetables but I'd rather eat them other ways besides salads.  Salads get old fast, in my book, anyway.)   On the drive over, I realized this would give me an opportunity to give away some money because in order to get a cart at Aldi's, you have to put in a quarter to unlock it, and when you lock it back up, it gives you your quarter back.   My game plan was to give someone a cart!  Easy!  Right?!?!

I pulled in just as a lady was finished putting her groceries away.  I poked my head out of the car and told her I'd take her cart so she wouldn't have to take it back.  I grabbed my Aldi's quarter which always resides in the arm rest of my car door.  I offered her the quarter but she refused to take it since someone had given her the cart, so she was simply paying it forward.

Yay for the cycle of paying it forward continuing but nay... I wanted to give some money away!

I loaded my cart with groceries and headed to the check out line.  Once the cashier started ringing up my items, she came across a small wheel caddy I decided to purchase for my avocado tree.   It'll be a lot easier to move around when it is on wheels.  Except, when I added this caddy to my cart, the sku code sticker did not come with me.   I told the cashier I was pretty sure it was $2.99 but she just shrugged her shoulders, put her finger over her lips, made a shush sound, and placed it in my cart.

I have always said if there is no price tag, it means it's free... but this was the first time that statement was true.... or maybe I just had permission to shoplift the caddy... either way, it was in my cart of paid for items and I didn't pay for it.

She read my total and I swiped the gift card.  I had an idea of how much was left on the card and I knew I'd spent over the amount that remained, so I expected a second total to be paid on my debit card.

It went through.  I had $13.66 left to pay.  I swiped my debit card.

Nothing happened.  No beep.  Nothing.

I tried it again.  Again, nothing happened.

"It isn't working.. the screen doesn't even say it's ready to swipe.  Do you have to press any other buttons on your end?"  I asked the cashier but she said her screen looked normal and I just had to swipe.

I tried again, nothing.  I pulled out my credit card.  Nothing.

I looked in my wallet.  I had one crisp dollar bill and mentally slapped myself on the forehead for forgetting to get cash out when I went to the bank to deposit my paycheck a few hours earlier.

"I don't even have enough cash to pay that.  I only have my cards.  It's not like I don't have the money, it's just not letting me swipe!"  I mumble more to myself than the cashier, and the patient people in the line, looking at me and wondering why I am holding up the line.  I apologized to them for making them wait, but no one seemed annoyed at this, instead they all gave me sympathy smiles and shrugged their shoulders.

The cashier took my card and tried a few tricks but nothing was working.  It was some sort of technical error that wasn't reading the card.  She called the manager and as the manager arrived, so did another customer.  Without talking to me, she simply swiped her card through the machine, hers didn't read either.

"Oh, you don't have to do that, it's not that I don't have the money, the machine isn't reading anything."  I explain to her, grateful for her attempt to pay the remaining of my bill, yet feeling slightly embarrassed my register was becoming the center of attention.

Meanwhile, the manager typed in a few codes and the machine did something because the screen was now telling me to swipe my card.  However, the other customer never left and she swiped her card, typed in her pin number, and walked away, barely even giving me the chance to get out a thank you for her kind act.

I move my cart aside and start loading up my groceries, and I heard other people making small talk, "bless her heart, we've all been there...."

Once I got to my car, and emptied my cart, I looked around for someone to give my cart to so I could at least pay it forward with the already free cart.  The previously busy parking lot was empty.  I locked up my cart and took the quarter, chuckling to myself as I walked back to the car.... "Okay God, that was funny, I see what you did... I wanted to give money away and people ended up blessing me and taking care of me.  You are funny....there's no doubt about that..."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Life Lessons from Hiking

The weather in Ohio has been perfect lately.  I'm talking sunny, 70°, gentle breeze, kind of perfect.  It's because of this weather I have found myself wandering around in the woods several times over the past week.  Well, the weather, and because of the emotional tornado of the last week.

(I may or may not get around to sharing about all of the stories but here's a few:  accidentally showed up to a scene where a twenty-something either ODed or killed himself because of a break up, talked to my ex for the first time since our break up to learn he is a fully committed Muslim whereas before he was raised Muslim but abandoned the practice, had one of my best friends call me because she lost her job, had another friend call me because she needed a therapy session, got a side upholstery job, got offered more hours on the farm, went on another date with Hank, one of my former closest friends got married.... a lot has been going on over the last week.)

So, on Sunday, instead of going to a church building, I headed into the woods to let nature show me how to testify and glorify God's awesomeness.  I was finally going to take the outer red trail, and I had all day to do it, so I planned on taking my time.

It was beautiful, then again, I've never been disappointed with nature.   It was my time of prayer and I released all of my burdens. I've realized the reason for my pain and anxiety is my struggle to surrender the control of my struggles.  In my head, I prayed that when I let go, and let God, that I see a deer to help me know I no longer needed to pray about those situations.  Then, out loud, I sighed, and said, "Let go, let God."  And a butterfly flew right in front of my face.  Maybe, a butterfly was my sign.  The butterfly led me towards the red path, and I gladly went, continuing my prayers but now leaning more towards gratitude than expressing my worry and fears.

My thoughts shifted and I started going to nature school and learning all sorts of life lessons.

#1 Just because you are broken doesn't mean you are done growing

So many times in life, we get stuck in our brokenness.  We forget that just because one section of our lives is not perfect, that the rest of us is still thriving and growing.  Sometimes, it's the growth from our brokenness that makes us unique, and so much stronger.

#2  It's Just Mud

It's easy to feel like mud.  We've all been trampled on and it seems too hard to show any of our beauty and growth because every time we start to transform, we get rained on, walked on, and shoved even further down.  Sometimes we have to get out of the situation that makes us feel like mud so we can dry out, plant some seeds, and start fresh.  Maybe you are the mud, maybe you are treating people like mud, or maybe you're just stuck but here's the good news....there's almost always a branch nearby that is willing to help us out of the mud, don't be afraid to use it.

#3  We make climbing hills harder than it should be

Where is it written that we aren't allowed to pause and catch our breath when we are going uphill?  There isn't a time limit!  So often, we are in such a rush to get to the top that we miss out on everything that happens as we are climbing up.  I suppose that's why the saying is that it's lonely at the top.  Take the time to notice your surroundings, no matter the level of your climb.

#4 Balance brings calm. not chaos.

Have you ever noticed that when we rush through life and everything on the calendar, everything seems to be making life harder, and not better?  It's like trying to walk across a log without taking the time to get balanced first.  You're going to fall off.  But when you pause, focus, and breathe, you'll find your balance and will be able to cross with ease.  

#5 The unexpected is always waiting to be seen

It's amazing what you miss out on seeing when you aren't looking for it.  Roald Dahl once wrote, "And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." One of the reasons I like to hike at my own pace is so I can take the time to notice what is around me.  If it weren't for taking the time to look around, I wouldn't have as many fun stories to share.

#6 There will always be forks in the road

We will always have to pick which direction we want to take in life, and though the choice is never easy, I believe we are always being guided.  Even if we take detours, there is meaning, lessons, and a purpose behind it.

#7 God hears your prayers

He really does.

I was on the final stretch of my hike when I looked felt peace rush over me.  I looked up and even though I had been praying to see a deer, I still had a moment of disbelief that a deer was looking right at me as I walked down the path.  I paused and thanked God for hearing my prayers, for giving me peace, and reassuring me of his faithfulness.

I can assure you, life is good, despite stress and struggles, and nature will gladly testify to this truth, over and over again.  And I will continue to do the same, learning more about life with every hike I take.

5. Instagram fun! Share a photo you took shared on Instagram this week and tell us what you love about it.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Paul from Apartment 8

Paul from Apartment 8 has been living directly underneath me ever since I moved in.  He's always saving all my stuff that falls from my balcony and giving it to me whenever I see him outside cleaning up the yard.  I've always made small talk with him but honestly, he just gives me the creeps, even though he is always nice to me.

The first time I met him, he gave me $20 to go on a beer run for him.  I forget why he couldn't go to the store and get it himself, but out of bad habit, I answer questions before they fully process in my head, and that's how I found myself at the drive-thru picking up a six-pack of beer.

Then, about a year ago, I saw him hanging out in the yard, telling me how his apartment had a case of the bed bugs.  I cringed my way through that conversation and then spent the next 4 hours deep cleaning my apartment out of fear of having bed bugs.  I've never fully recovered from this story but I'm happy to announce my apartment has never had bed bugs, and a week later, Paul informed me that his apartment didn't have them either.

So, when he asked me the other day if I would clean his apartment and I answered "yes" while freaking out in my head about bed bugs, I had no idea what to expect of the condition of his apartment.   I went to the store and purchased gloves and told myself to walk away if I saw any bugs, no matter if it was a paying job or not.  Bed bugs in my apartment wouldn't be worth a couple bucks of cleaning a lonely, old man's apartment.

Acting braver than I felt, I knocked on the door of apartment 8 on an early Friday afternoon, and asked him if it was a good time for me to clean now.  Did I mention he opened the door shirtless?  Ugh!

Much to my relief, he left the door to the hallway completely open the whole time I was inside cleaning his apartment.  His place wasn't overly dirty, then again, he didn't have much stuff to clean either.  His apartment was more furnished than my neighbor in apartment 24, but it was still the minimal.

(Again, I realized how much STUFF I really have, and how unnecessary most of it is.  Though I've been trying to cut back on waste and purchases over the years, I still have crap everywhere!)

He slept on the couch while I scrubbed the kitchen and searched for bugs.  I didn't even see a spider, which was a great relief....

The night before, I was just about to drift off to dream land when I felt something tickling my arm, and then my shoulder, and then I felt it on my face, going near my mouth!  I opened my eyes and saw a daddy-long-leg spider on my face!  I brushed it off my face and realized it was now somewhere in my bed... in the dark!  I jumped out of my bed, turned on the light, and told my cat to find the **** spider!  My cat looked at me and then curled back up and closed her eyes.  I spotted the spider crawling on my pillows and shoved them out of the way, in which the spider fell down between the wall and my bed frame.  I grabbed a tissue and smashed the spider but it got away.  I smashed it again, and it kept walking.  I screamed out to the heavens, "WHY WON'T YOU JUST DIE!!!!" and trust me when I say I sounded like a total villain!  And at that exact second, the spider stopped moving and just curled up and died.  I was relieved, shocked, and a little skeptical that it might be playing dead and get me as I picked it up with my tissue, but it didn't, and I smashed it one more time just to be sure.  I threw the tissue in the trash and went back to bed, keeping the lights on.  It took me a long time to fall asleep...

Back to Paul....

I was cleaning away, moving from room to room, with the brand new bottles of cleaning supplies.  I'd told him he could pay me $10 an hour and because I really wasn't comfortable doing this job, it was my goal to get everything done within an hour.  As I was scrubbing, my phone went off and it was my boss farmer telling me he didn't have any work for me to do today but to come on Monday.  Dang it!  I went from making $25 bucks to day to making $10ish, based on how long it took me to clean.  I thought to myself, while still on the serious look out for any bug that might resemble a bed bug.  I cleaned his whole apartment in an hour and a half, and this included mopping, sweeping, dusting, changing sheets, making beds, and the bathroom.

Yes, I broke a sweat.

He had pictures all over his apartment of whom I assumed to be family members, though the pictures were very out dated because the fashion statements in the pictures was early 90's.  I had sympathy for him, realizing he's just a lonely old man, and did my best to make small talk with my neighbor.

As I finished up, I asked him where I should put the dirty rags, hinting I was ready for the exchange of cash.  He understood the hint and told me he needed to go to the bank to get some cash.  "Okay" I said as I was walking down the hallway, but actually what he had said was "why don't you ride with me to the bank so I can get some cash and pay you."  He huffed and puffed as he put on his shoes, taking a minute to breathe as he put his hand to his chest.

"Are you okay?"  I asked after a long ten seconds of silence and not hearing him breathe.

"Oh yeah, just have a bit of trouble breathing from time to time."  He said between breaths and with his faded West Virginian accent.

I was lecturing myself on the need to learn to tell people no and stop putting myself in awkward situations as I got into the car with him.  About a half mile down the road, the already awkward situation got more awkward.

"How's your love life?"  He asked me.

"Currently non-existent."  I answered without thinking.  I quickly thought of a way to cover up my reply though it didn't help the situation out at all, "I got dumped two months ago."  I blurted out.

"Well, I'm single."  He responded.

I laughed to cover up my natural gagging reflex, a habit created after years of getting hit on by old creepers.  Side note frustration....honestly, I'm a decent looking woman... yet I only get hit on by men much older than me, men who look like they are on the verge of death, and homeless men.  What the what!  Can't I at least get hit on by creepers who are my age?  Or am I pushing my luck asking if I can get hit on by a gorgeous 6' tall, dark hair, dark eyes, Christian?  "Thanks but I'm good."  I causally slip out.

We make it to the bank and he gets a bit of cash, and hands me $25.  "I only worked for an hour and a half.  You only owe me $15".  I tell him to let him know I am an honest person.

"Well, I gave you $25."  He said matter-of-factly.  I realize I now have the total amount of money I was going to make if I would have gone out to the farm to work.

"Thank you so much, I greatly appreciate you helping me out like this."  I word-vomit more gratitude because if I've learned anything at all over the last few months, is that gratitude is like paying it forward.

We drive down the road a little further and he asks me if I've thought about his offer to date him.  I let out another awkward laugh and tell him, "Thanks, I'm good, I prefer to date someone my age."

Either I offended him or shocked him because he gave me a double take of a facial expression.  "Just how old do you think I am?!?!?!"

I hate guessing ages.   He looks about 60, moves like he's 80, but I generously suggested, "mid-fifties?" along with a ditzy shrug.

"What? Really?  I'm 46 years old."  He said as I picked my jaw up off the floor.  I HAD dated guys his age and that was when I was younger!


After a moment of uneasy silence, he asked me how old I was and I really wanted to lie because I have been told I still look like I'm in my late-20's, but the honest person I am, told him the truth.  "34 so you're still a little too old for me."  I said, trying to smooth things over, while holding down the vomit that was churning in my stomach and about to rise up and out.  We rode in silence the rest of the drive back the the apartment complex and I got out of the car, thanked him one more time for the extra cash, and told him I would see him around.   He mentioned he wants me to clean out his car, shampoo his couch, and other various jobs but I have no interest in spending any more time with Paul from apartment 8.  Mostly because I start itching all over when I think about him and his apartment.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Money Matters

On Tuesday, I was thrilled to see Jen Sincero's newest book was finally available, and even better, the audio version was over half off!  I was a thoughtless purchase because I knew this book was going to help me in the current situation I am.  After all, the book is called You are a Badass at Making Money.  I've listened and read You are a Badass hundreds of times and it's one of my go to books when I find myself in a slump, but instead of empowerment and living your life awesomely, Jen was going to cover a topic that I know I have a weird relationship with... money.

The book was amazing.

I'd been doing some of Gabrielle Bernstein's money practices over the past few months such as praying before you pay.  Each time I write a check for a bill, I pray something like this....

Dear God, 
Thank you for giving me the resources to pay these bills and for providing me the opportunity to give back to the community and help others keep their jobs so they can pay their bills.  I am blessed and grateful to contribute to the economy.

And let me tell you, there has been a lot less stress when it comes to paying bills from what feels like a never growing account, yet, I always have enough to pay my bills.

In You are a Badass at Making Money, Jen Sincero gives a lot of great advice and I know I will be listening to this book hundreds of times to help me get a healthy relationship with my money.  One of the stories in the book that stood out to me was when a friend of hers would run out of clients for her interior design business, so she would go driving and every house she passed, she would say, "you are a potential client" to remind her how many people have homes who could use some interior help.

So, I did something very similar.   Every time I drove by a house, I said, "The people in this house have enough money to have a home.  There IS money everywhere."  I mean, have you ever really noticed how many houses you pass on a ten minute drive?  It is an eye opener to see them all and realize everyone in that home has money.  Whether their money situation is healthy or not, I don't know, but I do know, it takes money to have a home, and A LOT of people are making enough to provide for their lifestyle.

I've been practicing changing my words and instead of saying "I'm broke", I say something like "Money is on it's way", or "I'm having a temporary financial set back", or "I have the resources to pay my bills".

Perspective, yo!

In the book, Jen also suggests doing a 29 day giving money away challenge, even if it's only a nickle a day.  I was telling my friend about this challenge and I said I wanted to do it but I was a little nervous since I'm only averaging 20 hours of work right now.  I am still making my monthly donation to a charity of choice, but giving away money for 29 days in a row makes my stomach turn.  How?  Who?  Where?

And, before I could finish my thought process, I was walking down the hallway of my apartment, coming back from a hike, when my neighbor from apartment 24, approached me and asked if I had a dollar.  It was at this moment, I realized I'd left my wallet in the car and told her that I didn't have the money on me right now, but I could give her a dollar once I got to my apartment.

I dug up some quarters and handed her a dollar.  "Oh bless you!  I need my cigarettes so bad!  You wanna know why I'm so broke and needed to borrow a dollar?  Let me show you why I am broke..."

"It's okay, don't worry about it, enjoy your cigs"  I tell her but she insists I follow her to her apartment to see why she is so broke.  I have lived in this abandoned-insane-asylum-looking apartment for three years and I have never been inside another apartment because I don't want to be!  I prefer to keep my head down and mind my own business.  She opened the door to her apartment and I expected it to ooze with cigarette smoke and to feel a layer of it on my skin as I entered, but was surprised to barely smell anything.   Instead, I saw an empty living room except for a couch.  No pictures on the walls, no table, no television, just a couch.  She was the first person I met when I moved in and I know she has been living here longer than me, so I was surprised to see just a couch, and I wondered if the couch purchase was what made her so broke.

She took me into her bedroom which was fully furnished, but again, no decorations, no knick-knacks, nothing besides a bed with it's head and foot board, a dresser, and a vanity mirror.  "This is why I am so poor.  I've been waiting 38 years to get a bed with a head and foot board and now I have it!  How much do you think I paid for this?"

I shrugged my shoulders.  At 34, I still didn't have a bed with a head and foot board.  I could tell it was used by the scratch marks on the wood but I had no idea where to begin guessing.  I don't like guessing games when it comes to age or what something might cost.  The Price is Right will never be in my future.

Before I could guess an answer, she shouted, "$350!  Can you believe that!  I have a bedroom set and now I'm broke!"  She laughed about her fate but she couldn't hide the prideful glow that was beaming out of her.  I told her it looked fabulous and headed back to my apartment, only to see ALL THE STUFF!  I have things everywhere!  EVERYWHERE!  I realized how "rich" I am, and how blessed I am to have more than what I need.

As I was cleaning up my balcony, my neighbor underneath me said hello and asked me how I was doing.  I told him all was well despite my lack of work but I was getting by with the help of odd jobs.

"Do you clean?"  He asked.

I wondered who doesn't clean?  And then I thought maybe he doesn't clean.  But, my bad habit of talking without thinking first answered him and next thing I knew, I had plans to come clean his apartment the following afternoon.  (Inside two apartments within 24 hours...and yes, that story will be coming soon...)

Maybe Jen Sincero is right, when you give your money away, it opens up more opportunity to make more.  So, for 28 more days, I am going to be giving some money away, even if it's just a nickle, to not only help me overcome my negative relationship with money, but to also trust that God will continue to provide for me.