Day 3104 – Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

“Mindset” is such a buzz word, it can be easy for it to lose its meaning from overuse. But changing our mindset in different areas has truly changed our lives the past few years. We’ve had some major shifts in how we view our money over the last year, as well as how we spend our money and think about saving for things. I’m in the process of creating a budget for an EPIC trip to Disney World and Universal Studios. I want to include EVERYTHING we want to do and not come at it with a “how can we do this cheaply” mindset. I’m trying to take my own advice from My road trip book (Note this is an affiliate link – so I’ll get a small percentage if you purchase) and I’m planning a big trip so I know what it would actually cost. Instead of thinking it’s a “pie in the sky” trip, I’ll know, we need XXX to make this trip, what do we need to do to get there?

I had a seemingly “small” mindset shift from reading a book about consistently showing up, every day. Before I was just overwhelmed with everything I needed and wanted to do, but once it clicked that it’s ok to take even super small steps (one page read, one blog post edited, one small workout) because they add up to huge things over time. Instead of feeling “I’ll NEVER get all this done” I now think, “ok, I may still have a long way to go, but I’m making my way there.”

Also changing from a “We can’t afford this” mindset to “HOW can we afford this?” has been a huge shift.

I’ve even changed my mindset about my online presence. I thought I had to get my other websites up to date and regularly updating them to be successful. But it hit me – THIS blog is my home in this digital world. THIS is where I have set up shop. Even though my name isn’t in the web address, this is where people are finding me. And instead of trying to figure out what everyone wants me to write, I’ve embraced writing what I want and what I’m experiencing. (Thank you to Tribe of Mentors for this particular shift). And I’ve already noticed a change. From more views to more subscribers to feeling truly proud about each post. Sure, they’re taking a lot longer to write and that takes time from other projects, but I feel good about it.

I think the best advice on this whole “mindset thing” is that it’s ok to change your mind about things. It’s ok to think one way and then another and then go back to what you originally thought. Growth, honesty, and a willingness to fail is what we’re after here.

Have you had a recent mindset shift? Was there one big event that change your mind about things or was it little things along the way? Let me know in the comments below.

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Day 3060 – My Life Has Changed A Lot In The Last 13 Years – or – 13 Years Ago, I Photographed My First Wedding

I was scrolling through my On This Day on Facebook, and it reminded me that today was my wedding photography anniversary. It’s funny, just yesterday, Bret and I were talking about how much our lives have changed since we got married. We were chatting about his real estate investing business, and my virtual office management business, as well as what I’d just read in Tools Of The Titans. Basically, Tim Ferris was talking about real world MBAs, and how if you look at taking a pay cut to learn something, it’s like getting a real world MBA. In a lot of respects, you could look at the last few years for me, and say I did a 3 year alcohol rehab, I did a 5 year writing degree, etc. One thing I’m thankful for is that it’s ok to change your mind. It’s ok to have new dreams on a new day. And getting to know yourself is a life long process.

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget
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Check out our resources page.
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Day 2912 – Jennilyn’s Memory Day

July 1st will always be a big deal to me.

On July 1, 2008, Bret proposed.

On July 1, 2011, I put in my notice at my last 9-5 job.

I’m not sure if anything that major will happen today, but I will definitely spend the day thankful for where my life has taken me, and look forward to the steps I’m taking to take my life where I want to be.

Do you have any special dates that you can never forget?

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
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Check out our resources page.
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Day 2740 – An Alcoholic Christian

One year ago today, I shared my testimony at church. It’s crazy so much time has already passed. I’m now at 2.28 years sober. Still no temptations, no struggles, all thanks to God’s amazing work in my life. If you’ve struggled with something for a long time, take heart in my story. I was an alcoholic for 8 years before God made the change. Lots of love to you if you’re struggling with something today.

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Originally blogged on 1/10/16

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Today I finally shared my testimony at church. It went SO well. I’m grateful for the process to get to the stage, all of the people who gave me advice and listened to me practice. I only cried at one part (more so in the first service!) which surprised me….but it was always the part I cried when I did cry.

It will be a few days/weeks until the video is online, but I figured there are some who have been waiting to hear the full story. Here is the text of what I shared.

“I am a recovered alcoholic. Not a typical term that you hear, I know. But I didn’t really like “recovering alcoholic” as if I will forever be a sober person struggling to stay sober, not changed completely by God’s work in my life.

I felt God prompting me to share this, even though this isn’t the “easy” testimony. I’ve thought about sharing this in some form or another since about a month or two after I quit drinking.

So why am I sharing it now? I think that what I have to say may help someone realize that if God is telling you to do something, He will give you the strength to walk through it. To fully understand how I got to this point, I have to take you back about 9 years.

I was working a retail job in 2006 and nearly every Friday night, I was out with my co-workers, getting drunk. I didn’t really drink a whole lot before this job, so for me to be going out every Friday night was not like me. But it happened so gradually, I didn’t notice.

In the fall of 2006 I was driving home from another late night at the bar. As I was driving home, I was texting someone saying “man, I should not be driving right now.” I say that and just shake my head at myself. Texting and driving AND drinking and driving. Well, thankfully, I was pulled over before anyone was hurt. I was arrested for a DUI. Having to call my mom to get me out of jail was probably one of the most humbling things I’ve had to do.

I had a few drinks in the weeks that followed, but my lawyer advised me to stop drinking. So I did. I was sober for a year after that. I went to court mandated group meetings and classes. Even sitting in the group, I didn’t think I had a problem. It was just a dumb mistake I made.

When my year of probation was over, I went out and celebrated with some friends….how? By drinking. Again, I look back and shake my head.

In the years that have followed, I haven’t been arrested again, but I have done some really stupid things.

I was so hungover at my best friend’s wedding, that she held MY flowers right before walking down the aisle so I could go throw up.

I’ve thrown up in my friend’s bushes during a party.

I’ve locked myself in the bathroom, at another friend’s house sobbing for nearly an hour because of a movie.

I’ve gotten drunk with clients two days before their wedding.

I’ve gone to church severely hungover.

I’ve snuck hard liquor and not told Bret how much I had to drink.

I’ve drunk cooking wine.

Up until I stopped drinking, on all but one of my getaways with Bret, I would drink myself silly, which cut the trip short and ruined the time.

I’ve missed several opportunities to witness about Christ because I had too much to drink to think clearly.

On the last night I drank, Bret and I were supposed to do evening devotions, but we didn’t because I was so intoxicated.

After many of these humiliating moments, I would swear off alcohol. I would be ashamed of myself. How could a Christian act like this? I’d tell myself I won’t drink again. I would journal and ask God’s forgiveness. Many times, if not every time, this verse came up:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Every time I read it, I’d mentally agree and think “this is it. I can do this.”

But then a few months would go by and I would think, “Oh it’s our anniversary,” “Oh, it’s so and so’s birthday,” “Oh! It’s Tuesday!” And there I was again, right back where I was before. It would start slow and then would be a full blown problem again. It was an endless cycle.

My breaking point was not that big of a deal, comparatively. I was watching TV with my mom, and because of the alcohol content, I drank essentially 7 and a half beers….in two hours.

The next morning, like many mornings before, I felt terrible about drinking that much. I again journaled my regrets. Again, “be sober-minded” came up in my devotions. But this time, I really started thinking seriously about it. Previously, I would swear off alcohol right away, but it wasn’t a serious commitment because I really didn’t think it through. This time, I weighed both sides and thought through things for several days.

I finally took my sin seriously.

I reasoned that what I lost by not drinking ever again was not even worth comparing to what I would gain. I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem. I finally admitted I couldn’t do this on my own. I finally surrendered myself to God’s way. I have been sober for about a year and a half.

Here’s what I’ve learned – God very patiently told me to quit drinking, but I didn’t listen for a long time. A VERY long time! When I did though, He very richly blessed me. I haven’t had a craving for alcohol. I haven’t been tempted to drink. I can be around people who drink. I haven’t second guessed my decision. I have found strength I didn’t know I had, His strength in me. It has become an easy thing. I listened to God’s command and I was blessed.

It breaks my heart to think that I have lost out on chances to share my faith with others because of drinking. It stinks that I showed a terrible witness of a Christian to those who didn’t know my Savior. But here’s what I know. Christianity is not about a bunch of perfect people who live perfect lives. It’s not about people who stop sinning when they’re saved. It’s about totally messed up, imperfect, screwed up people coming with absolutely nothing that makes them worthy, throwing up their hands and admitting that they don’t have it all together. It’s believing that Christ was a real person who was fully God and fully man, who came and lived a perfect life that we could not, and died a death to pay for the punishment of our sins, and rose again to defeat death.

The number one response people give when they hear I struggled with this is – I had no idea you dealt with this! It’s easy to hide sin, especially sin you’re ashamed of. I am not ashamed of my sin anymore. I’ve been excited to share because I know what it’s like to be ashamed of sin. I know how it feels to walk into church with downcast eyes. I know how it feels to think you’re the only one who struggles with something. Trust me when I say, you are not the only one who struggles. But I can now more fully say I understand forgiveness. I can more fully express that God is waiting with open arms to take us back. Even after we’ve fallen for the second time…the fiftieth time…the thousandth time.

Now that alcohol is not in my life, there’s room for God to be the most important thing. I now love to be near God, I have such a desire for him and his word. Because I’m not hungover, I can listen to sermons nearly every day and have clarity as I listen. Do you remember how I missed out on evening devotions with Bret? Well, now he’s listening to most of those sermons with me. Our faith is the number one thing we talk about now.

I am now able to be more alert, all the time, for opportunities to serve others. I am aware of the spirit speaking to me – now that he’s not muted by alcohol.

So while I had a terrible witness for 9 years because of drinking, because Christ paid for those sins I am now worthy to stand before a holy God.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 says, “As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

The God that made a way to forgive my sin is the same God that gave me the strength to finally give up a sin I’ve struggled with for over 9 years. He is more than able to give you the strength to finally give up the sin you’ve been struggling with.”

Thank you Daryl for taking this photo!

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
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Day 2624 – Reflections On Getting Arrested Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago at 1:59 a.m., I had a number of thoughts:
– I was so excited about my new job! It was my first “real” job. A 9-5 where I had to wear business casual and not a uniform.
– I really enjoyed working at Target.
– I should not be driving right now.
– I texted someone and said as much.

Ten years ago at 2:00 a.m., when I was pulled over, I had a number of thoughts:
– I shouldn’t have been driving.
– I shouldn’t have been texting.
– I should be ok, I didn’t have that much to drink.

Ten years ago around 4:00 a.m., after being officially arrested, I had a number of thoughts:
– I can’t believe this is happening.
– I can’t believe I blew a .13.
– I can’t believe I talked to the cop on the way back from the official breathalyzer test about thinking God wanted me to talk to him. How embarrassing.
– I can’t believe the cops at the station said I took a good mug shot.

Today, ten years after being arrest, I have a number of thoughts:
– I can’t believe I didn’t think I had a problem back then. I found a short survey I took for my court mandated substance abuse classes. I scored an 11 out of 24. 9 or more meant probable alcoholism.
– I am SO thankful that God graciously helped me quit drinking cold turkey.
– I am so thankful I was pulled over that day. If I thought I was ok driving that day….I shudder to think what could have happened on the days prior that I knew I wasn’t ok to drive.
– I am thankful for those who stood by me through the last 10 years.
– I never thought I would put this out there publicly! I remember being SO scared about people finding out.
– I am thankful for work that doesn’t require me to check off a box – “have you been arrested” etc.
– I am thankful that I can now be a designated driver and not be mad about it.
– I am most thankful that alcohol doesn’t hold any power over me anymore. I always thought I wanted one of those stories….you know the kind…..drug addict, alcoholic, etc sees the errors of their ways and comes to Jesus and is completely saved from their vices. I always thought, well, my story isn’t that exciting….I grew up in a Christian home, gave my life to Christ very early and have clung to my faith ever since. I now know that is one of THE best testimonies. But, now I have both testimonies. 🙂

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