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HOW WE GOT THE FIREHOUSE

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I'm so excited to share how we got the firehouse with you guys! It's a story full of pure craziness, but through it all, I'm able to see how God was with us since the beginning of the process. If you don't know what THE FIREHOUSE DREAM is, I highly recommend you read this blog post first!

 

HERE ARE 7 WAYS WE SAW GOD MOVE THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS:

1. The seller of the firehouse accepted our offer...even though we weren't the highest bid.

2. Our lender approved our loan even though the Firehouse was so unique. They have to hold the loan for the full 30years....which banks very rarely do that, if ever!

3. Our house sold for 1k over our asking price.

4. Our house appraised higher than our selling pricing.

5. Our house gained thousands of dollars in equity, only after living in it for a little more than a year, and that's with us doing no updates to it. It's what allowed us to have the money we needed to buy the Firehouse.

6. Since we sold our house over our asking price, we were able to buy beds for the girls, and a few other things.

7. God revealed so many lies that I believed about myself that He wants to bring freedom to!

 

Be sure to watch the video to hear the full story!

Friends, I hope that you are inspired by our story. How our yes, and open hands created space for God to show up, and provided opportunities for Him to blow our minds. He really is a BIG God, and can not be limited in how He wants to provide, show us how much we are loved, and so much more.

Until next time,

Jasmine

WHAT'S THE FIREHOUSE DREAM?

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Friends today I'm sharing what The Firehouse Dream is, and what inspired the whole idea.

Watch the video below!!! Also follow us on IG and IGTV for updates @authenticadventureco

DREAM AGAIN

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I'll never forget the time when I was dreaming about purchasing a vintage trailer. It was almost 4yrs ago, I was walking through a dark season of depression. I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, and felt a sense of uncertainty in my identity and purpose. As a result, my depression led me to closing my photography studio for a week, and diving into deep intimacy with God through silence, exploring nature, mediation, prayer, reading, and so much more. It was during that week, where I became aware of the lies I had believed about myself, dived into His promises for me, learned what it means to be vulnerable, and so much more.

I remember on the 4th day, God pressed in my heart and said, "Write the dream down. I want you to dream again," and so I did. As I wrote, I began asking all the "how's," and with a gentle conviction, He whispered, "I didn't ask you how, I asked you to dream."

So I scribbled over the whole page, and started fresh. I drew a trailer with a truck hitched to it, which at the time we didn't own either. I dreamed of using the trailer as a way to further my heart for giving back through Click For Hope. I dreamed of traveling nationally to photograph and share inspiring stories. I dreamed of teaching, and sharing why as entrepreneurs we should give back.

During this time, I also felt I needed to let go of my studio. Everything in me was reluctant, lets just say, I let weeks pass by. It was so hard to let it go because I dreamed of having my own photography studio for so long, and I had finally gotten one all to myself. I perceived letting it go as failure. But out of my obedience, I turned in my 30 day notice. The day I was approved, also happened to be the day where I was hosting some Click For Hope sessions. My last client for the day walked in, and shared how much they loved the space. I don't know why, but I felt inclined to share that I was moving out of it, and began to share this new vision.

And as I shared, the mom looked at me wide eyed and said, "You know what?!? My parents are selling a trailer. Can I call them?!?"

As she was chatting with her dad over the phone I remember telling God, "Is this really happening?"

She begins to say out loud the kind of trailer they are selling, and I'm freaking out all the more. You guys, it was the exact trailer I had written down, but thought it was out of reach due to how popular and expensive they were. After some negotiation, the couple met me at my budget. They loved my story and what I wanted to do with the trailer.

Now I just needed to figure out a way to pay for it. In some crazy ordained way, a friend offered to borrow me the money interest free, and said that I could pay her back over the next 6 months. This provision was so baffling to me, because at the time I barely knew her.

In Feb of 2015 we found ourselves packing up the kids, and traveling to Colorado to pick up Hope, our 1961 Shasta Airflyte.

It was during that time, that my husband said, "Honey, I love how much you love to giveback, but we need a way to fund it," as the light bulb goes off in his head, he continues to say," Why don't we put a photo booth inside of it."

I immediately said no, but after pondering on it for several weeks, I finally said, "Let's do it!"

I had no idea that a year later since launching our business, we would go back to Colorado to pickup a 2nd trailer, Faye, because our vintage trailer photo booth experience would take off.

It's a year later since picking up Faye, and now we find ourselves in a Firehouse, that can safely store our trailers. This firehouse, is a dream within itself, and I'll be sharing more of that later, but we see it being a space where we will be able to host events, and have community with our neighbors, friends, and clients. We long to be a light in our village.

It's crazy to see it all come full circle. I now have a studio again, all to myself, well kind of....as Jeremy and I will be sharing it, but this time it's SO much bigger! Renovations should be starting soon, but until then I sense God just wants me to sit in His goodness, to marvel at all how He did it. It was all because I dreamed again, because I chose to partner with him, trust him, and let go of whatever had to be let go of, so we could enjoy what He had for us.

I share this friends, because I wonder in what ways is He asking you to dream again? In what ways is He asking you to open yourself up, and let him in just enough to trust him, so you can hear His voice. He longs to share how much He deeply loves you, and in more ways than you can even fathom. Friends, I pray that you would feel His overwhelming perfect love right now as you read this. It's okay.....take a deep breath, and as you inhale, and exhale let him whisper all that He sees and dreams of for you.

Alrighty friends, that's it for today!

Much love,

Jasmine

 

I SEE A BRIDGE

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Friends, yesterday I had my therapy session, and it was so good. I'm finding such freedom and healing, and this past week, God has just been revealing such truth to me, and for my family which is so opposite of how I felt last week.

My session ended with my therapist saying, "I see a bridge. And on the other side, it's your destiny. In the middle of the bridge is your adult-self, and at the start of the bridge, is your little girl. I would like for your adult self to begin to prophesy to your little girl all that you see that's in your destiny. Can you do that?"

I instantly said yes, and now as I'm typing this, there's such excitement for me to open myself up to see what God shares with me. I'll be sure to share it with you too.

If you didn't know, or are new to following me, I've been on a mental health journey for over a year now. We've been doing some hard inner child healing work, where I've been able to identify the lies I've been believing about myself for all these years, like how I'm not good or worthy of good things happening to me. That everyone else around me is meant to succeed but not me. That I'm suppose to live a hard life, and so much more. All of these lies stem from being abandoned, and being taken advantage of as a small kid. But God....he is not only healing me, but taking such ugliness, and perversion, and is making something new and purposeful out of it. Even as I type this I feel a confidence in who I am as a daughter of God.

I share all this, because I don't want to keep it to myself. I long to share what I'm learning through my sessions, so that it would encourage or inspire you to take the steps to talking to someone professionally, especially if you've been feeling that nudge to do it, but fear or the unknown has stopped you. Or maybe begin to open the door to exploring what your story is. Maybe there's some pieces that you've hidden or haven't shared with anyone before because of shame or guilt.

I'm sharing this because I want you to find freedom, joy, and belonging in a way you've been searching but just can't seem to put your finger on it.

I'm sharing this because man, life is HARD! And we can't do it alone....in fact we weren't created to. You, my friend, are so deeply loved, wanted, and accepted.

I end with this, He can't heal what we don't own! Our stories matter to the heart of God. He wants to take all of what you have experienced, and begin to reveal truth,  and partner with you in fulfilling your God given purpose.

Okay friends, that's it for today!

Until next time!!!

Jasmine

FAITHFUL IN THE SMALL

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Friends, I'm so excited, not because it's Monday, but because we've entered a new season in our home, and who doesn't love new seasons right?!? My big girls started summer camp today, which means for the first time in 10yrs of doing the mom thing, I'm excited to have some dedicated work, and me time. I'm hoping to meditate/pray more, actually start a workout regimen, and plan how we want to continue to grow our business and platform. 

To be honest, past week was an extremely hard one for us as we are navigating treatment for our daughter who is going through a mental health journey. I felt so helpless, and unsure of how to help her. There's been lots of tears, and heartache but today friends, I woke up inspired, encouraged, and ready to just fight this good fight. To show up, and love on her the best I know how.

Today was also a big day for me, as I was interviewed on a podcast called: The Dreamers and Doer Podcast hosted by Breeane Johnson. This is now my 2nd interview, and while I'm very much a total newbie to this thing called "podcasting," I'm honored to share my story, and to see how God is taking ALL that was meant for bad and using it for His good. 

I've always wrestled with the lies that I'm not a speaker or a writer, but God keeps showing me glimpses of how he wants to bring light to the world with my story. And let me be completely honest, that scares me a ton. I wonder how He could use me, someone use struggles to get my words out, stumbles over my words, and more. But out of obedience, I'm choosing to put myself out there. To try, to mess up along the way, and to stand up when I fall, and try again. Friends, I want to be faithful in the small. I want to know that in "my small," I allowed myself the opportunity to grow, gain confidence in myself, and so much more.

So, I end with this....how can you start with the small? In what ways can you say yes to God? What's He been asking you to do, but haven't because of fear, scarcity, or feeling unequipped. I pray that this week, you would take one small step toward that thing He's asking of you!

Well friends, that's it for today! Until next time, may you be wrecked by the love of our Heavenly Father. May you know just how special you are, and how He longs to speak and share all the dreams He has for you!

Love,

Jasmine

HOW TO CREATE A SAFE HOME

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Creating a safe home as been one of our unspoken priorities. It's often said that when you grow up you either perpetuate what you learned, or you do the complete opposite of that. And well friends, Jeremy and I have chosen to be intentional in how we make our home safe for our girls. We long for them to know their voice matters, how they feel matters, and we care enough to talk about it! We are challenged with, "How we do help teach and mold our girls to be confident, and be grounded in their God created-identities?" Now, I'm not talking about being perfect little girls who go to church and follow rules to be loved by God. I'm talking about being ever so rooted in the truth of who they each are created to be, and to know who they are: which is loved, wanted, chosen, accepted and so much more!!! And trust me, we aren't perfect at this by any means. To be honest, it took DK turning 5 years old before we began to fully understand the gravity of our choices, and how we spoke to each other.

So, I wanted to share 5 ways we create safety and boundaries in our home.

1.TEASING IS A NO GO

I was bullied, picked on, and made fun of when I was little, by classmates, and by family members. So I admit, teasing is definitely a trigger for me. I don't like it, whether it's a joke or not. I don't want our girls to be raised in the toxicity of teasing, and for it to be excused as, "Oh, come on....it was a joke." So we have a rule where if we say or do something and one of us doesn't like it, we have the freedom to say, "I didn't like when you said (dot dot dot) or did this." Whoever the offender was, which does include us (mom and dad), apologizes, and asks for forgiveness. We don't excuse it with humor, say it was a joke, or say, "Come on, you need to learn how to take a joke."

Why do we do this?

To build confidence and courage within our girls to have the freedom to say "No, that wasn't okay," or to say, "What you said hurt my feelings, and I didn't like it." Now, I get in the real world, not everyone will apologize, or understand their feelings, but at the very least it's building up the confidence in them to have the courage to as least say it, and be heard, without it affecting their identities.

2.WE DON'T COMPARE, WE CELEBRATE

This one is huge!!! Jeremy and I don't compare our girls to each other, and we don't allow the girls to compare themselves to each other either. Comparing robs the beauty of who God created each of us to be and accomplish in this world. Learning to celebrate well takes real skill and time. So why not start when they are young?!?

Why do we do this?

Sibling rivalry is real, and it doesn't go away when we grew up. I believe it remains deep within ourselves. Instead, we are teaching our girls to celebrate one another. For example, a few years ago, DK had the opportunity to do some modeling. Savi said, "How come I didn't get to do it?" I had 2 options here: Either redirect her comment in a way that celebrates or let her feel and say whatever she wanted. That was a moment for me to teach them, and set a boundary in that we don't compare but rather celebrate. So I told Savi, "Instead, how can we share in the excitement of what DK experienced? Maybe we can say something like, "DK that's so cool that you got to model. Did you have fun?" or "DK, I love that you got to do something so fun like modeling. Tell me all about it."" And then you know what happened?!? A dialog between them opened up, and Savi got to celebrate along side DK in what she experienced. Then a few weeks later, our whole family was casted for a modeling gig, and Savi was the one to be in the spotlight. And now the same situation was reversed, and this time DK had to celebrate Savi, and Savi got to see that when we can truly celebrate someone else purely, an opportunity may just open up for her! I have so many more examples of this, but will have to share more later.

3.WE USE OUR WORDS WISELY

This one is incredibly true, especially with body image. We don't use words like "fat" in our vocabulary when describing ourselves or someone else. We also don't say things like "You look beautiful," or, "Be good."

Why do we do this?

We believe our words have power. It's with our words where we can either build-up or break down one another. What better way to show love, by building each other up. "You look beautiful" and "Be good," is deeply connected into their identities. I learned early on my girls greatest fears, and gained discernment that statements like these and more would greatly harm them. I'll be blogging more about this concept, but here's what I can say for now. Instead of saying, " You look beautiful, I say, "You are beautiful." And instead of saying, "Be good," I say, "Do your best."

4.WE REDIRECT

Now when they miss the mark, we either redirect or walk through "asking for forgiveness" process. What do I mean by that? Well, lets say someone raised their voice out of frustration. I'll say, " I think there's a better say to say/ask that?" And then they have to ask their question in a way that shows love, not yelling, or being disrespectful. After they've been redirected, then are they walked through the asking for forgiveness process that I share more of below.

Why do we do this?

Sometimes our kids just need to be reminded of the boundaries we've set, and how we communicate with people we love. They are kids, so boundaries will get pushed and tested, especially as they get older, and want more of their own independence. My hope is that we've been consistent in how we treat each other, that even when they are older, that they can still be redirected, and understand that how they speak matters.

5.We are QUICK TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS

I didn't learn how to forgive well when I was younger.  It was a process in which God had to walk me through lots of years ago. I was one who held onto records wrong like nobodies business. Learning to say the words, "I forgive you," was so hard for me. And I knew I wanted this cycle to not be continued in our home. Then 4 years ago at church we learned a great way to practice forgiveness.

The offender: Step 1. I'm sorry for..... Step 2. I was wrong. Step 3. Do/Will you forgive me?

The offended: Yes, I forgive you for..... (saying it's okay, or it's fine, is not an acceptable response for us)

And then I added a step. Step 4. Both the offended and offender have to hug it out. I even say that...."Now, hug it out." :)

Why we do this?

Learning to forgive well takes practice. And I quickly learned we can say we forgive someone but actually haven't. Sometimes our feelings need time to catch up with our words. So by having  the offender and the offended hug it out, it helps the offended to let go of unforgiveness. There's such power with touch, like a hug. And it's in "how" our girls hug it out, where we can tell if they've truly forgiven or are harboring. Now I bet you are wondering, "Well, what if the offense was like really really bad?" Well, the offended, has the freedom and space to say, "I forgive you, I just need some time or space." The offended then can take a few minutes to cool off, meditate, etc. Then they have to go back to the offender, accept their apology, and then hug it out.

Well friends, there's so much more I could add, but I've made myself a promise that I won't write exceptionally long blogs.....haha! Which, I haven't been the best at with our personal blog posts.

I share all this in hopes to encourage and inspire you to create safety in your home. For you, you'll have to figure out your own why, and what matters to your family. For us, creating a safe space to share our full selves matters a ton to us, and our why is tied into our upbringings. Like I've said before, we aren't perfect at this thing called parenting, and boy do we miss the mark. But our kids have the freedom to share their feelings, and to be heard. We learn everyday how we can improve, and use our words to empower each other.

What are some ways you create safety in your home?!?

Until next time....

-Jasmine

 

WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES TRIGGER YOU!

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“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” -Isaiah 26:3

It's been a few weeks since I've blogged. I had to take a break due to Jeremy getting in a head on collision, that thankfully left him some what okay (no broken bones) but our car was totaled. Needless to say these past 2 weeks have been quite challenging, and triggering for all of us, and all for completely different reasons.

I have to admit that I didn't realize that when circumstances came, I'd have feelings about it, but didn't dig deeper to see what the lie was that's tied to the feeling.

Yesterday at therapy we were able to dig deeper, and for me, it all boils down to TRUST.

Trusting that God will provide, that He's really with me, and that He would choose me and so much more.

Everything in my adult self as I'm typing says, "How can that be?!?"

But my inner child is scared, all alone, and thinks everyone will leave her. So she pulls in to avoid feeling, and then my outer child is left acting all wild, and out of my normal character.

But yesterday's session brought such a sense of hope and freedom. Because now that I'm aware of my survival/coping skills, I'm at a place of accepting that I want nothing more than my little girl to find her freedom, to heal, to grow up and become fully developed.

So I want to share what I learned with you guys:

1. When circumstances come, they will bring forth feelings. We have the choice to feel or shut down.

2. Feelings are different than beliefs, and we need to be able to identify the difference. Naming the feeling, will help lead you to discovering what the core belief is. For example, "I'm feeling angry and frustrated because......, (you won't provide, you left me, I'm alone.)" Allow yourself to answer that question.

3. When we identify the belief (which is usually rooted in a lie) is when Jesus can come in.

4. Ask Jesus a question about the belief. Like, "I believe I'm so alone, am I really alone?!?"

5. Jesus begins to heal us. It's in that moment where He will reveal His truth.

For me, He showed me I'm not alone, and that indeed I can trust him. My little girl embraced Him ever so tight, and didn't let go. I felt instant comfort, and peace.

I pray that this helps you to see just how much you are loved by the Father. I hope that when you are feeling something, that you would dig deep, and identify really what's going on.

Thanks friends for reading!!!!

-Jasmine

 

 

 

I USE TO THINK I DIDN'T NEED A DAD

A special note to any single parent reading this: Hey friends, it's Jasmine here. This is an extremely vulnerable post for me, but first I want to speak to every single parent who is reading this, please know that my heart is not to shame, or make you feel like your love is not enough, but rather give you some support in how you can start the conversation with your child(ren) about their feelings. Also know that I'm writing from a place in where my dad left our family before I was born. But this is for any single parent, where the dad, or mom has chosen to leave.

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learning to feel

I've spent the majority of my life dissociated from what's happening around me, in other words, I wasn't fully present enjoying all that life had to bring. I didn't even become aware of this until I had my very first therapy session in May 2017. Let's call my therapist, "Judy." After Judy learned my story, and past history, she said, "Well, there is definitely PTSD, disassociation/depersonalization, and abandonment issues." If I was honest, I was shocked to hear about the abandonment as I had walked through a forgiveness journey with my dad when I was 17. You can learn more about that part of my story here. Needless to say, I thought I was healed from that part of my story.

As the months passed and we continued to meet, I quickly learned that in order to cope with my true feelings, I had disassociated. I coasted through my childhood and teenage years, just waiting to be an adult so I could move on with life, because the only way it would be good was by own means.

I'm now 34, and learning to "feel" has been extremely hard and vulnerable for me. I want to learn how to be connected with myself, so I can live the life I was intended to have. Most importantly, so I can also be the mom I long to be with my kids.

For all of these years, I thought I didn't need a dad, that I was fine, and my mom did an amazing job (which she did). But I've learned that not having my dad for the first half of my life greatly impacted my identity, and my world views. I'm now working on breaking so many mindsets and lies that I've believed to be true about myself. So my hope is to help you open the dialogue and help walk your child(ren) through a healing journey while they are young.

 

Here are 6 ways you can begin to help

your child(ren) HEAL.

 

1. Start Therapy.

There are so many different stigmas when it comes to mental health, whether it be culturally, generational, etc. Or there's a sense of pride, that you got this, you can do this alone. But friend, you have the power to normalize what mental health is, by first recognizing it's not healthy to suppress your feelings. Now just because I'm recommending it doesn't mean you are ready to start therapy and that's okay. There also isn't a one size fits all with therapy. There are so many different types of that you can do, but only begin therapy if you want to for yourself. It has to be your choice and decision.  When you are ready to start going to therapy, it begins to normalize it for your kids. It's so beneficial to begin walking through your own hurt, and feelings first. The more healed you can become, the more you can help your kid(s) walk through a healing journey. Kids are very smart, and they understand the world in a different way that as parents we could never understand. So to bring in an outside perspective in with someone who is a professional could be very helpful in bringing healing to your child's feelings.

 

2. Make your home a safe place.

Now I get this is hard! I don't know what led to you to becoming a single parent. But if it was divorce/seperation, then when the kids are old enough to process what it means to not have a parent living with them, begin to open the dialogue. Help them to connect with themselves. This isn't about who's the better parent. Who is right or wrong. Or even how you sacrificed everything to provide for them. This is about a piece of their identity being confused and missing. Now I'm not saying go into detail about what happened, but rather ask them questions like "How does it feel to not see daddy/mommy as much as you'd like to?" or "How's your heart feeling today?" It will them to be connected and present with their feelings.

 

3. Speak into their identity.

Tell them how much they are loved, wanted, accepted, created with purpose and a destiny. Begin to make it a habit to flood them with truths. Abandonment has a way of changing how the brain processes and thinks. It changes their worldview on life and experiences.

 

4. Don't say things like, "You don't need him/her, you have me."

This is even harder than number 1, but know that their feelings aren't about you. In reality it's about how a piece of them is missing and they are trying to understand what it all means. Instead, validate their feelings, do your best to listen, and not fix. Also comparison is so destructive. So saying things like "But, you have me", won't ever take away the void they may feel. Which is why walking through your own healing journey is so important.

 

5. Spend as much time as you can with your kids.

I get it, you have to work and provide, especially since you live on one income, but try everything you can to not let work consume you to where all you do is work. Because a story will be written: "That everyone I love doesn't really love me." Be intentional in creating time to be fully present with your kids. Whether it be on Saturdays, or in the evenings after school. Just do your best to give them your full undivided attention. Ask them about their day, etc. Play with them, laugh with them. Don't let the need of money take away from having intentional quality time.

 

6. Make time for self-care.

Parents this is so hard, but you need time for yourself. You need some time to reset, focus on your own health/well being. Find something that rejuvenates you. Whether it be exercising, dancing, art, or something that brings you life. Just whatever it is, allow yourself to have fun with it, and be fully present in it. Your to-do list can be put off to the side for a few hours. Because a healthy mommy/daddy makes for a happy home.

WHAT NOT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO LIVES IN A "NOT SO GOOD" AREA

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It's crazy to think it's almost been 2 years ago when we started entertaining if we could buy a home again. I say again, because we were the "1 in 5 million" that lost their homes during the mortgage crisis, but I'll have to share more on that later.

Just to give some context, if you don't know, the Chicagoland area is very segregated either by race or class, which when you think about it really goes hand in hand. Someone can tell you what neighborhood they live in, and you can have an idea if that neighborhood is, "good or bad" "affluent or low income." I know...crazy right?!? There's so much Chicago history on how it became so divided, and it continues to remain one of the most segregated cities in the US. Feel free to Google it, if you are intrigued and want to learn more.

Our home buying experience was interesting because the more we shared we were looking to buy, the more we got unwarranted advice, suggestions and questions. For example, I had a friend ask me where we were looking.  Now mind you, my husband is the only salaried person in our home. With the home buying process, using the salaried income is the best way to go.  Also, we were very determined to find a space that fit our needs, but didn't want to go beyond what we were currently paying for our apartment....which was no easy task. So to answer her question, I hesitantly mentioned some nearby suburbs (just out of the city), and she quickly responded that I should add in a very commonly known affluent community. It left me in an awkward situation of what to say, because I knew this quaint community existed, it just wasn't within our budget. So, I nodded my head, and changed the conversation. These comments came constantly. After searching for months, we found the perfect home for us in a community called Maywood, which is just outside of Chicago.

Now after we bought our home, more comments came. If you don't know anything about Maywood, it has a reputation of being considered a "bad area" or "up and coming," in which, I'm not a fan of these words. Maywood was a thriving community until the mid 1970's when a major factory closed down causing a huge loss of jobs. The community never really recovered after that. Today, it has a 97% minority population, it's a food desert, there's lots of abandoned homes, and more. The assumptions about Maywood bother me, because the reality is they are mircoagressions towards a certain people group, whether we want to admit it or not, and lets not forget, I am one of "those" people.

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So friends, I want to share 4 things not to say to someone who is looking or just bought a home in what would be considered a "not so great" area.

1. SO....HOW'S MAYWOOD (OR INSERT SAID NEIGHBORHOOD?!?)

You wouldn't believe how many times I've gotten this question. Sometimes I don't really know how to respond. But I say, "Oh we love it!" You guys....we can't always believe what blogs, articles and non-residents have to say about "these" areas. Unless you've lived in that neighborhood, please don't share what might be inaccurate opinions. I have experienced community more here, than anywhere else we've lived. Our neighbors look out for us, helped us when we got stuck in the snow, closed our garage door when we forgot to close it on several occasions and so much more! Our neighbors are genuinely amazing!

Maybe instead ask "How are you enjoying homeownership?"

 

2. OH....SO, HOW'S THE SCHOOLS?

This usually is the followup question after the first one. One time, I did have someone just go straight to this question. And my response was...."Ummm, I don't know. We homeschool." We’ve been a homeschooling family for 4 years because we quickly learned our daughter thrives better one on one. However, with a basic internet search I could gather an idea that the schools are considered "underperforming," but I don’t believe we should formulate an opinion without actually walking into each of the schools, meet with the principal, and allowing ourselves to draw our conclusions. Let's not let the internet and hearsay be what determines if a school is good or not.

Maybe instead ask "How are you enjoying your child's school?"

 

3. SO HAS ANYTHING BAD HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE LIVING THERE.

I couldn't believe I was actually asked this but I was. I could tell this friend was trying not to dig herself deeper in a hole. I responded quickly with a no, and shared more of my positive experiences with my neighbors, but at this point the subject got so awkward that the subject was changed.

Maybe instead ask "How are you enjoying new your neighborhood?" or "Tell me what you are loving most about your new neighborhood?" See a pattern here?!?

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4. YOU SHOULD JUST MOVE TO THE SUBURBS WHERE THERE'S  A WHITE PICKET FENCE AND THE SCHOOLS ARE REALLY GOOD, YOU'LL PAY HIGH TAXES BUT IT'S WORTH IT.

Yup! I've gotten this one too. Now as awesome as that sounds, the reality for us is that our budget couldn't go that high. I had another friend, say, "Well you could live "here" if you just allocated your budget appropriately." I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or cry.

You guys, we have to remember that just because one might be able to purchase a $500k+ home doesn't mean everyone can. Heck not everyone can qualify for a $200K+ home. We have to remember that we all live on different levels of income, and if we are truly submerging ourselves around those who don't all look and live like us, we have to be aware of how our livelihoods may not be like be our friends. Also, we have to be aware of the words we say, and how they may come from a place of privilege, may be making an assumption about a certain people group, or sharing insight on hearsay that is  founded in stereotypes and prejudice. Now let me clarify, there's no shame in your game if you can purchase a $500k+ home, just don't forget that isn't the story for everyone. We have to be willing to ask ourselves, "Is my circle of friends living a similar lifestyle as me? Does everyone I hang out with look like me?" If they are, then we have to ask ourselves, "Am I truly diversifying myself in a way where I'm doing life with those who don't look and live I do?? Are my actions aligning with my words, and what I say I'm for?"

Instead say: "I love that you are looking to buy a home, what is your dream home?!?" or "I heard you bought a home, how did you know that was your 'Home'? Did you get that tingling feeling inside?"

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All in all, Jeremy and I are challenged to live our lives in a way that honors Jesus, which to us means not living above our means. Remember how I mentioned earlier that we were the "1 in 5 million" that lost our home during the mortgage crisis?!?  Well, we did everything we thought we were supposed to then, to achieve the American Dream. We believed that buying a home beyond what our income could handle and filling it up with lots of brand new beautiful furniture somehow meant that we "arrived." Before we knew it, we lost everything, and in losing it all, it taught us to let go of the American Dream, and begin to go after the God Dream. For us the God dream is living out each of our purposes in whatever way that looks. Now that may mean we won't be super wealthy, but we are okay with that. As long as we can eat, support our kids, and pay our bills, while going after our God dreams, we are more than happy! Now let’s say our income increased significantly…..we still have a huge conviction to stay simple, live on less so we can give more, and help support other’s big God dreams. So to us, where we live doesn't matter. It's about making our home a home filled with love, safety, and togetherness, while our door is open to being a light to those around us.

So....who wants to be our neighbor?!?

LETS TALK ABOUT MONEY....

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Finances is something that doesn't come easy to me. I never learned how to manage it, so I just did the best I knew. Four years ago, we went to a budget bootcamp class, and it was the first time Jeremy and I actually were on the same page, saw that we could save (we just weren't) and more! We created a plan to finish paying off our student loan debt, and anything else that was outstanding.

Now that we learned how to budget, and paid off of our debt, I was still feeling a disconnect b/t our finances and our budget. Almost as if, no matter how hard we worked, our budget felt tighter and tighter. I came to realize that I wasn't financially literate. I didn't know what it meant to create a plan for it, how to invest or anything.

I remember sometime in Dec. of 2017, I asked God to teach me about money. And literally within 30mins, He places a someone in my life who says she wants to mentor me. Let me be honest, the first week we met, I heard some hard words that I needed to hear. She told me I had limited thinking when it came to money.

What I mean, is that, I had a poverty mindset. Now I'm about to get real  and vulnerable here. I hope this is a safe space for me to not feel judged, but I truly believed that my life was meant to be one of struggle, and never having enough. When I thought about God and all of who he is, I believed that He is who He says He is for everyone else but me. I had no idea how much it controlled me, my thoughts, my actions, and how I perceived other people. This is one of the many topics I get to talk, process, and heal from with my therapist.

So when She said I had limited thinking, it was almost as if the scales on my eyes fell off. And I was immediately intrigued. I wanted to learn more!!! So she gave me homework, and told me to start educating myself on the world of finances.

So I love to share with you what I'm learning!

1. Read Poor Dad Rich Dad

THIS BOOK!!!! I believe every entrepreneur should read this book. I mean, every business owner should be reading books on finance! Why? Well because we are in business to make a profit, and if we don't understand how money works, or how to make it work for us, how can we profit off of it? Anyways this book revolutionized my mind. My one big take away, was to to stop saying," I can't afford that."

2. Started Reading Unstoppable by Tony Robbins

I had heard of Tony Robbins before, but if I'm honest I didn't ever really know much about him. All that came to mind was seminars and a Netflix documentary?!? In which I could be totally wrong. Well, he popped up on my facebook feed in a private entrepreneur group I'm in, and was mesmerized by him, and everything he was saying. So I bought his book, and am more than halfway through it! It's been so good learning about investing, how to find an advisor who would be a fiduciary, and more.

3. Signed up for a Real Estate Flipping workshop

You know how FB can get creepy sometimes right?!? Well, this couple popped up in my feed about flipping homes, and Jeremy and I have had several conversations about us starting to flip homes, but we always pushed it to the back burner. Well, this couple popped up and they were offering a free workshop. Now I knew they may be selling something, but wanted to dip my toes into the world of real estate and see what I could learn from it. Rick from Poor Dad, Rich Dad, talks about learning a formula and sticking with it! So the goal here was to learn their formula of real estate, see if it's a good fit for us, and then put it into practice! Flipping homes here we come!!!

4. Had lunch with my dad and chatted about investing

Both Rick and Tony talk about getting around people who know more than you. I have heard my dad talk about investing in stock, and wanted to have a one on one conversation with him, about what he's learned, and any nuggets he can give me, as I continue to learn, and decide which route I want to go in when it comes to investing in stock. It's all about diversifying baby!

5. Started Reading The Money Type.

This book is amazing. It's based on 7 biblical characters in which you take a test to see which one you identify with. He then goes through each money type and shares who they each feel, think and act with money. I've learned soooo much about myself, and how God created me. I especially recommend this book if you are married, because you will learn such great insight on how your spouse sees money, and how your differences aren't wrong, but different.