Monday, August 25, 2014

Plans? What plans?

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Can I just say this year has been a crazy one and it's only August! It's been great, don't get me wrong, but crazy nonetheless. I look back to just a few short 8 months ago and I can't help but laugh at the plans I had for myself. Not that they were ridiculous, they were good goals and plans but really not up to snuff compared to what God had in mind for me.
I planned to get out of debt. 
I planned to help Rakesh set and focus on his personal and financial goals. 
I planned to finally get around to cleaning up my office and getting things filed away properly. 
I planned on losing weight and passing the CPA exam - once and for all! 

But oh the life that happens, while we're busy making plans.

I planned for small reachable goals and prayed over them that my plans would bear fruit if God willed them to be. And, if I'm being honest (because this is a blog and why not be honest), I planned to cope with not reaching my goals because I didn't believe I could pull them off. I sort of lack self discipline if there's no pressure involved.
Today I sit at my office desk, feet propped up and am thoroughly reveling in the life God has blessed me with this year. 
I prayed to get out of debt; God blessed me with a raise, a bonus AND some stock awards. All of which have gone a long way toward being free of debt. I planned and prayed to help Rakesh with his personal and financial goals; God's blessed us with the means to marry quickly and welcome our son into the world as husband and wife - a goal we've had for about 13 years. Now Rakesh keeps talking about writing down our goals and figuring out the small steps to make his goals happen. I have been in awe at seeing the change in Rakesh's perspective and focus in these few months. I love this man more everyday.
I planned to lose weight; God gave me a son to get healthy not just weigh less.

I planned to pass the CPA, despite always putting it off the last five years of working. God has laid the pressure on thick so that I have to see to it that it happens this time, because let's face it, who has MORE time to study when there's a baby involved in the equation?! Um, that'd be no one.

sigh.

I find myself sitting and thinking, "Now this is the life," a lot more frequently now. I've been praying for years for the Lord to bless my feet. My reasoning being that even when my brain or mouth don't cooperate with God's purpose for my life, that maybe my feet will be so blessed that I won't have any say but to walk in the right direction, toward His path for me.

And I can't help but think that He's definitely heard and answered that prayer because here I stand, blessed beyond measure and I don't have an Earthly idea why or how I got here.

I can't help but think, "My poor poor feet!" They have been doing all the spiritual lifting to Grace while my mouth and brain kept weighing me down just making it that much harder for my (poor poor) blessed feet.

So today I surrender to God for all the bigger plans He has in store for me. He's clearly got it more figured out than I do. I repent that I've made my path that much more difficult for Him to utilize me in His purpose. And I give thanks for blessed feet, (not only for 5 months of no swelling while pregnant - woot! woot! *happy dance*), but for always leading me in the right direction.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Forgive the delay, I've been out living...

So since we last really spoke, I've been a bit busy.

I'm working on my Dave Ramsey Plan - paying off my student loan debt by 30. Just 8 more months and I will be student-loan-debt free my people! Then all that will be left is the mortgage. I cannot even begin to express how thoroughly I am looking forward to it. 

And while that would make most people think that I am doing less,  we are somehow doing more.  We spend more time at home working on the house and yard and when we do get out,  we make sure that it's really worth the money we spend. So the things we get or do tend to be of greater quality,  and ultimately means we spend more time on it. 

Also and if I'm speaking frankly, the first quarter of the year has been hectic is kind of a normal thing. With birthday after birthday (since 5 out of 8 in-laws have birthdays in Jan-Feb; on top of other  friends and family members' ), a wedding, a bachelorette party and four baby showers, and meeting my new HSF mentee - we almost always spend every weekend doing something and being swamped at the beginning of the year. As we move into April though, things always come to a standstill which is great for me. I get a breather. I get to peacefully enjoy a quiet evening with family to celebrate my brother's birthday (like I did this past weekend) and usually coast into a uneventful birthday of my own toward the end of the month.

So I just wanted to check in with my progress on my resolutions. I definitely feel like I am working towards a happier life that I want. The focusing of my goals and following through with them making all the difference in my day to day. And if I can move forward then I can certainly smile at my progress. 


Friday, January 10, 2014

Resolutions

101 LIST

Do you ever catch yourself laughing and find the emotion and feel of your face smiling unfamiliar? Like a long lost friend you didn't realize was missing? yeah? me too.

This year I resolve to laugh more and only be with people who make me happy. I resolve to be happy. Consciously.

I also resolve to have more grace in every definition of the word.

My projects this year involve refreshing my 101 list. It doesn't suit me anymore and I'm coming to terms with the fact that my list never really did.

I'd also like to announce I'll be adding my completed scrapbook pages to the blog. I've purchased Project Life and have high hopes of doing some serious damage to all the pages I'm backlogged on.

So I'm going to do the things I love to be who I want to be and whoever is along for the ride is welcome.

XOXO
Margaret

Friday, December 20, 2013

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure...

If you know me personally, you'd know I'm an extremely logical person. I don't exactly err to my emotional side on the regular. But lately, I've been feeling really lost. I'm 28. I have financial goals, a decent career, and someone I know I can count on until the end of my days. But I find myself debating what I want to do next. As I told a friend recently, I went to college to open some doors to new opportunities. But now that I'm older and wiser to the truth that you really truly can do anything; I struggle with the idea that there are so many options/doors, I don't know which one to walk through.

I don't want to be in debt anymore and that's really important to me. I want to finally marry the man that loves me seemingly unconditionally; since nothing I've said has chased him off yet. I want to eventually give that man the children he's always wanted. I want to help my family and I want to see the world.

I do well enough to pick a few of these items but not all of them. How do people do it? How do they make a decision about the direction of their lives?

In my experience, your life is what you make of it. I've never been the type of person to believe that anything is out of anyone's reach so long as they wanted it bad enough to work hard for it - at least that's what my parents stressed to my siblings and I when we were kids (Like no joke - to the point that we could recite their speech once they started in on it).

So it leads me to question, why would I doubt any decision I make? Because surely if I can do anything and everything through Him who gives me strength, isn't any decision I make the right one?

Right?

........Riiiiiiight? ha ha.

No seriously- right?

Any who- I came across an article that I found to be inspirational and a bit insightful, with tips and opinions on marriage and life. I thought I'd share to inspire you too:  http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2013/10/09/relationships_great_tips_for_staying_married.html


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Number 48. Find out my blood type

101 LIST

So for Christmas, one of my very best friends did me a solid and encouraged me to get back to this list of mine, which I had mentioned to her that I was feeling defeated about. Part of her Christmas gift to me was a blood type test. A home kit, no less.


I absolutely love it! Odd really, loving something so obscure but that's Tab's style. Random in her perfection.

She warned me it would hurt some doing the finger prick part otherwise I would have whipped out the kit and bloodied my hand right there in her living room. I was so excited. But instead I waited a few weeks (building up courage, of course. I'm kinda a wimp when it comes to needles, no matter what the size.) Who knew they even made home kits for this, any way??

Any ways, I've done the test and I'm O+!!

Had Rajeev take some pics while my doctor (read: Rakesh) administered the home exam.

So with my motivation restored thanks to my bestie, Number 48 is checked off my list! Yay!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday: RABDARGAB!

Everyone who's anyone knows RABDARGAB.

(Not to worry, if you're not in the "cool club" I'll enlighten you...)

Back in the 90's, the Houston Independent School District ran the RABDARGAB campaign in attempts to raise literacy in elementary age children in the Houston area. The deal was pretty straight forward:  Read A Book, Do A Report, Get A Buck. Thus, RABDARGAB was born.

I read a book so here's my dollar-making post ("report"):

I read "Do More, Spend Less" by Brad Wilson, Owner of Bradsdeals.com. (A cool little discount website that if you haven't tried I highly recommend.)

So back to the book- if you ask me it could use a little editing down on the "look what I can do/did" of giving examples of his marvelous trips. Other than that it was otherwise an eye-opening book chalked full of ideas and useful online tools for fixing credit scores, using rewards credit cards to rack up free trips, hotel stays and cash back. It was an excellent book for a newbie. Of course, like anything that totally enraptures me it set me off on an non-stop almost obsessive search for more in depth details and how-to's on improving my credit ratings.If you're looking for something to read for a little bit of "learning something new" I recommend this book and then I suggest you check out extrapackofpeanuts.com if you just have to know more.

Fairly straight forward and to the point, and not very much like a book report; yes, I know, but I just had to share this book with you. It's a good read for the newly financially-focused individuals out there.

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming....

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hello, 2013!!!

So as usual its been forever and a day since I've posted so I thought I'd take a sec and come by to update 'cha!

With the passing of 2012, we say goodbye to a lot of things: a place a lot of people all called home (if not currently then at some point in history), along with any and all doubt that we are extremely blessed people; the Bush tax cuts- (I just received the first paycheck of 2013 and I'm still a little irked); and with any luck, we also say goodbye to bad financial habits and poor planning in our household.

In the time since I last posted my in-laws' home of 30 years has burned to the ground. With no home owners insurance, there have been some real trying times. Two of Rakesh's younger siblings endured 2nd and 3rd degree burns. While the healing continues, we have had a non-stop out-pour of love and support that has been indescribable. From strangers to close family friends and cousins across this planet, we have been sent money, clothes, food and an un-Godly amount of cupcakes! Some handful of family friends submitted the family to a Gallery Furniture Giveaway Contest and Rakesh's parents actually won a houseful of furniture just before Christmas!

On our own personal home front, we have made a new year's resolution as a couple to be more proactive with our financials. We are attempting to do more with less. I've picked up a book and hope to be making some changes to how we spend our money so that we are making a bigger dent in the student loan debt and putting more equity into our home whilst managing not to starve to death simultaneously. It's doable its just going to take a more conscious effort on our part.

Wish us luck!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Number 59. Watch a sunrise with Rakesh.

101 LIST

Number 59 on my 101 list - Watch a sunrise with Rakesh. I must admit I think that when I originally made this 101 list I believe I was much more romantic about my goals. I dreamt I could take as many vacations as I wanted in just 3 years time. I dreamt I had an unlimited supply of cash. I dreamt that I was not who I actually am. Case in point - this goal. Let me explain.

I am not nor have I ever ever EVER been a morning person. I was even BORN in the afternoon because I'm SO not a morning person. Does that make it more clear?

Why on Gods green Earth, would I make a goal of seeing the sunrise?? And on top of that... with Rakesh?? I'm a grouchy person in the morning and the last thing I want to do is be with Mr Morning Person, Rakesh. Who- for some reason- LOVES to ask me a thousand questions before I've even brushed my teeth. I blame this partially on his mother who spoiled him rotten with attention when he was a child. That's right Lauren - its your fault! lol





Anyways, back to my point for this post. I actually did finally see that sunrise with Rakesh this Summer while we were on our cruise. I was super anxious to see land after three days at sea. Rakesh was anxious to get off the boat after being really sea sick for two days straight. So we actually managed to watch the sunrise as we approached the coast of Guatemala. It was nice but it was not as romantic as I thought it would have been. It was really humid and drinking hot tea on the top deck out in the humidity was not the brightest ideas I've ever had. But we did it! We watched the sunrise together. And I did it without biting his head off. :-) So check one more thing off that 101 list, baby!

Number 9. Go on a cruise.

Well its deadline day and that means I can finally get around to all those things I've been meaning to do. For one, updating my blog. I hate that I don't get a chance to post when certain times of the year come around.  So here's my post about the cruise Rakesh and I went on over the summer with Carnival.

101 LIST

Number 9 - Go on a cruise.

Yep thats right! One more thing checked off my 101 list. The cruise was an interesting experience. And while we had a good time, we learned we aren't cruise people. We are more like New York for vacation kinda people. We like the fast paced vacations filled with culture and excitement and most importantly for me... the lack of humidity and heat that seems synonymous with Houston, TX.

With that being said, cruising is NOT that kinda vacation. We went on a week-long Carnival cruise with Aunt Dolores, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Greg, Aunt Christina and my Grandmother and by the end of it we were anxious to be back home (Rakesh more because he was sea-sick most of the time and me because I was getting a little stir crazy being trapped on a boat.) We left our house and took a short road trip over to New Orleans Saturday June 23rd. We spent the evening having fun, dancing, drinking and walking around New Orleans Downtown district, which was closest to the port. We left Sunday, the next day, from New Orleans. We ported in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico and returned back to New Orleans the following Sunday, July 1st. It was fun but Belize and Guatemala were really third world countries and me being the paranoid person I am did not enjoy roaming the countries. I was expecting to be robbed the entire time we were in port.

For me the best port day was the first day-Guatemala. I woke Rakesh early to watch the sunrise with me as we could finally see land in three days. On Isla Roatan in Guatemala we spent part of the day vegging out on the beach. The water is the first crystal clear water I've ever laid my eyes on. It was beautiful. Then we spent the afternoon interacting with dolphins at the country's dolphin resort.



The second port was Belize. Like I said, I was paranoid in this third world country. But lucky for me I have a dare-devil boyfriend to make me do what I would not have done on my own (sarcasm). Rakesh found a guy at the port to give us a tour of the city and take us down to the Mayan Ruins in the country. It was fun. And if you ask Rakesh, he'd tell you I reluctantly admitted that after and ONLY AFTER we were returned to the port in one piece and not robbed and left roadside. I was so grateful for that fact I insisted Rakesh tip our tour guide $20, which in Belize dollars was really $40. The Indian in him argued with me.

The third port was Mexico. There we picked up liquor and trinkets for the family when we got home. It was a fun day. We spent a good deal of time at the beach with Grandma and Dolores and Johnny.



The days we were at sea Rakesh and I played bingo, went swimming, drank and ate A LOT of food. We did karaoke, while the rest of the family refused to participate.We partied like it was 1999 at the dance club, even took a Salsa and Thriller dance class. We played laser tag with Antonio and Greg. Of course, Rakesh smoked us all and won a plastic trophy for his victory over us and some 4 year olds.



 All in all, a great vacation much needed after the Spring I had had. It was weird though coming back. It took some time to lose the sea legs. I felt wobbly for a good two weeks afterward.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

85 more days til my deadline!

101 LIST

So above is the link to my current 101 list. And if you go to that link, you will see that I created this list of 101 goals about two and a half years ago and that my time to complete these goals is almost here! (Just 85 more days!)

Since my last post on this site, I have 62 of my 101 goals left to do. This does not make me very happy. 85 days to do 62 things (some of which are very big-travel-spend lots of money-types of things) is not a lot of time to finish! Not to mention - some of these things are just not going to happen. For example, Number 4. I wont be marrying Rakesh in 85 days. Shocker, I know! But we have more important goals to reach in the next year so this one won't be happening til then.

Although I'm slightly disappointed in myself for not getting everything done in time (don't judge me - its a sort of obsessive compulsive thing I have about checking things off of lists), I have to laugh a little that two years ago I was so wistful and seriously and deliriously happy enough to think I could pull all of this off in just two years time! Now I'm a little older and little wiser and DEFINITELY more realistic about how much I can go on vacation. haha. (Take a look at the list! - I had like 15 different vacation/trips I wanted to do in two years. 15 trips in two years! LOL I'd love to be able to make that many trips in a year someday but I'm not a millionaire yet. lol)

Anyways, I'm freaking out that time's almost up and I thought I'd share a bit of that stress/obsessive compulsive nature of mine with you.

I'll keep ya' posted when more things get done. Cross your fingers and toes for me!

Til then,
Margaret

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spa Day with My Mom and Sisters. Number 31: Done!

Number 31 is done! (Though it wasn't the original plan.... it was WAY better!)
101 LIST           


So the Friday before my birthday (April 27th) my sisters and mom came over to stay the night with me at my new house so we could Saturday together doing our first ever girls day! It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I made my 101 list that included number 31, Spa day with my Mom. This idea was a lot better. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it originally!
            
 It was so much fun. We got up early and headed out for the museum. We went to the HMNS to see the Titanic exhibit. My Mom absolutely LOVED it! After the museum, we stopped at Pho Saigon to introduce Melinda to amazing Vietnamese food. (I've taken Mom and Mari there before. They were the ones who actually requested the place. Makes me smile to think I introduced them to something that they love. ) 
                    
After that we went and got hour long massages at Massage Envy. Once we were all loose and relaxed, we hit up the nail salon. Mari and Mom did their fingernails and Melinda and I did our toes. (Weeks later - My toes still look good!) 
                       
It was a perfect day. And I can't wait to do it again!

At the HMNS, right after we had had the crap scared out of us by a soldier for the Terracotta Warrior exhibit.

Mel with plastic bags full of wax on her feet. lol.

One of the 12 different steps during this pedicure. Felt so good!

After a full day. We're pooped and ready for a good nap. :-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

99 projects and a pair of pants ain't one!

So as you know we are working on the house and putting it together for family to come see it. We decided the best way to tackle the house is to divide the territory. Rakesh is doing outside and his office and I have to do our bedroom and my office. And like most of you know I've had a long standing addiction to crafts and I have A LOT A LOT of stuff. And let me tell you, I have been having the hardest time getting this stuff organized! 

I have unpacked at least twelve boxes full of half completed projects and various supplies from sewing to knitting to scrapbooking to painting! I am amazed I have this many things to finish. I can't even begin to think about the projects I haven't started yet! yeesh!

 This is just half of the piles of stuff I am up against!


On another note, I have also been trying to focus on the other goals for the year. With one main goal down (the house), I am pumped to knock out the other two! So Mom loaned me her Zumba DVDs and I absolutely them! So much fun! It's a half dance half aerobic workout. And I love to dance so this workout totally suits me. Skinny Margaret here I come! :-D

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness? Psh! (Getting the house clean is painfully time consuming.)


As you know, we got a house a few months ago. A little about our house though? It was the previous owners’ rental house and according to our new neighbors it had been vacant for about a year. And naturally, the vacancy has made this house an extremely dusty and dirty place to deal with. I feel as though I have been vacuuming, dusting and cleaning for months! Every crevice of the house has been covered with dirt and construction dust. I wish there was something like a Lysol or bleach bomb that you could just set off once and everything would be clean! Sigh. Back to work on the scrubbing.




Some pictures of Rakesh's yard work. :)


Cruise control/My birthday surprises


Sunday April 29th, the day before my birthday, Rakesh and I met up with my family to plan the activities for our cruise. I was surprised by my Aunt Dolores and Uncle Johnny with an AMAZING tres leches cake! It was sooo good. Typing this actually makes me crave another piece. Lol. I also was given some money from my Grandma and a new set of towels from my Aunt Dolores and Uncle Johnny. It was a good birthday surprise despite the really nasty restaurant we decided to meet up at.

I took the next day off of work to enjoy my birthday. My sister in law, Regina, and her family came over to see the house and hang out for a bit. We took Priya to the park and she had us laughing. Rakesh gave me a Silhouette and some ink pads. If I said it was anything less than amazing this year, it’d be a lie. I feel so blessed for how my life has turned out so far. 



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Number 5. Buy a House. Check!

101 LIST


We bought a house! Closed and received the keys to our first home on March 23rd! This by far was the most time consuming and challenging goal to accomplish. But we did it! Naturally because it was Mid-Busy Season, we had to wait a few weeks before we moved into the house but we’ve been moved in and settling in for almost 2 months. We have a last mad dash ahead of us to finish the last few things to have a housewarming party. We cannot wait to have everyone come down and enjoy our home with us! This reminds me… I need to make invites! Lol.

OUR NEW HOME!

Monday, May 21, 2012

So... I've been a little MIA.

As my last post mentioned there has been lots to deal with on the home front and updating the blog was definitely on the to-do list. Well... turns out life takes a lot longer to get organized than I had originally thought. 


I have been juggling lately. Helping Mari with school stuff, getting the house together for an upcoming house warming party, fitting in the doctors visits I had to postpone because of busy season and studying for the CPA exam have proven to be extremely overwhelming and TIME CONSUMING! But fear not! I am getting close to being back to a norm. 


Some upcoming posts I hope to have up by week's end:
1. We bought a house! Number 4: Check!
2. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness? Psh! (Getting the house clean is painfully time consuming.)
3. Cruise control/My birthday surprises
4. Spa Day with My Mom and Sisters. Number 31: Done!
5. Bible Study progress!
6. 99 projects and a pair of pants ain't one! (Craft room progress and Zumba!)


But until then, I have a question for those of you who are still with me. Should I bother to paint pre-house warming party? Or no? The entirety of my house is this light yellow color: walls and ceilings! What do you think?


Margaret


Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm baaaacckkk!

NOT THAT I WAS REALLY MISSING! I was just buried for about two months underneath several hundred tax returns. 


But as a homecoming, I plan to post several updates. I've checked a few things off my 101 list, set things in motion to get a couple more things checked off AND I am seeking input for upcoming projects! The next few weeks have lots of plans already in the making and I can't wait to dig in!


Tax deadline is tomorrow and I hope you've all filed your returns by now. If you haven't, I love you but I'm not going to help you.  I cant wait for tomorrow's happy hour! Freedom from this hectic work schedule is so close, I can taste it!


Until then my friends, God Bless.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

111 POSTS?! MAKE THAT 112!

Never did I imagine that when I started doing this for my 101 LIST, that I would love doing it as much as I do. I've actually started looking into doing it part time to make some money. Did anyone know you can make money doing this? 


There are all kinds of conferences, communities and lectures you can attend to make your blog more successful and enticing. I think I'm going to start doing this along with my scrapbooking. What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea?

February 16th - Day 16 Photo Challenge/101 List: Number 18

Meet my new mentee, Michelle!


This is my something new - Michelle my mentee. I just started working with HSF to volunteer mentor incoming college freshmen and acting as a guide to these bright young individuals. Yay! I am so excited and blessed to have an opportunity to give back when I have received so much. Miss Michelle is SUCH a sweet girl and I hope that I get to help her as much as my mentor, Debbie, helped me.

I'm not only ticking off a photo challenge today, I'm ALSO ticking off a goal from my 101 List! Yay! Number 18: Get back to doing volunteer work. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15th - Day 15 Photo Challenge

todays prompt: "phone"


My interpretation of this is who I need to phone in order
 to say thank you for lovely flowers on our anniversary. 
10 years and going strong baby! I love you Mr. Man. :)