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A Very Merry UN-Christmas

When coming up with the title for this post, I kept thinking of the Mad Hatter and March Hare from Alice in Wonderland singing A Very Merry Unbirthday at their tea party. As upside down and backwards as the song might be it has an interesting message. Although we celebrate our birth with a party, cake, balloons, and gifts once a year, we should celebrate every day of the year, thankful that we've been blessed to live another day. We may not have all the grandeur that only our birthday can provide, but we can celebrate every other day by living it to the fullest, getting one step closer to becoming  the best version of ourselves.

These thoughts came as a result of seeing someone on Facebook say, "I won't be doing Christmas this year." I've heard this said before, but for some reason when I read it this time, it caught me off guard and I was confused about what it meant. 

Are you not putting up a tree and decorating? Are you not buying gifts? Or receiving gifts? Listening to anything and everything but Christmas music? Going out of your way to avoid seeing houses with lights? You are going to take a rain check on all family functions? What does it mean when someone says they aren't "doing" Christmas?   I'm just absolutely baffled by that statement. Maybe we have two different ideas of Christmas. 

As a child, I remember my mom wearing a pin on her coat during the holidays that said "Remember the Reason for the Season". Christmas, for me, is a time to enjoy our loved ones as much as we can, a time to be grateful for all we have and all we've been given, a time to be a blessing to others, and a time to bask in joy as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  

So when I hear someone say they aren't "doing" Christmas I really interpret it as them saying they aren't going to allow themselves to be filled with joy,  they don't want to spend time with family, and they aren't interested in expressing gratitude for what they do have in life - even if it really isn't much, we can all find something to be thankful for. Let's get real here, if you can't recognize how blessed you are, how can you turn around and bless someone else? Just by having the ability and opportunity to read this makes you blessed beyond measure.

Holidays can be rough on people emotionally and financially. I totally get it. Most of us have been there at some point and you're not alone. What I'm about to say, isn't to discredit what you're going through, what you've gone through, or how you feel in anyway. It's my own realization I've come to through sorrow and hardship. Find thankfulness in the loved ones you have and the time you can still spend with them. Find thankfulness for all of the little things we take for granted in life: roof, heat, water, food - even air to breathe! Once we focus on all the things we have been blessed with in life, joy becomes easier to flow through us as we are able to understand giving. With Christmas around the corner, I can see no more perfect time than now to practice thankfulness especially with Thanksgiving only a few days away.  We all have the ability to give something whether it is a kind word, time volunteering at a soup kitchen, services that you are talented or skilled at, some cookies or fudge you baked, or a DIY you made out of things you already have at home. Christmas is a season to recognize and embrace how blessed we are and choose to bless others in return.

I don't get why anyone would say they aren't "doing" Christmas. I strive to do Christmas everyday. I strive to be grateful all 365 days in the year and strive to bless others as I've been blessed. I strive to be filled with joy year round. So if someone really doesn't want to "do" Christmas, I will meet them there. Let's have a Very Merry UnChristmas everyday so we can celebrate the good in life.

What are your thoughts about not "doing" Christmas? How do you celebrate?

Pure Michigan: Our Summer 2017 Trip

The timing didn't work for us to go up north for our one year anniversary in January like we wanted so we decided to take a trip to Mackinaw during the summer instead as our "anniversary" trip. It was such a nice getaway. There's nothing like Michigan in the summer time. We are truly blessed with such great natural beauty. I, myself, take it for granted.

We spent our first day on Mackinac Island. It was super foggy during the morning and cleared up to be a beautiful 70 degree day by the time we left. 

For the first time, I didn't try to cram seeing and doing every little thing there into our visit. Interestingly enough though I saw the entire island ... at least the perimeter of it. I had never ridden the 8.2 mile bike ride around the island before so Jonathan and I embarked on checking that off the list. I actually saw some things I never had before.

Of course, we had to hike up to arch rock and check out the view.

Following our trip to Mackinac Island we headed up to St. Ignace where we stopped to grab coffee at Java Joe's and hiked up to Castle Rock - or as Jon has always referred to it as "the really big rock with the giant Paul Bunyan and blue ox". I never knew what he was talking about before now.  

Jon volunteered to experience the weirdness of the Mystery Spot as he put himself in a bunch of odd and near impossible positions. We spent the day enjoying the natural "pure" Michigan beauty.

Mackinaw treated us well with delicious food - one of my favorites being the Rosemary, Pesto Salmon at Nonna Lisa's Italian Restaurant and a relaxing view on the water where we could see the bridge and city line.

You can view the rest of the pictures from our trip here. If you're curious about what the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island looks like on the inside, you can see the pictures I took from visiting there a few years ago here.

What’s the Deal with ‘Direct Sales’ and ‘Multi-Level Marketing’ Companies?

 

Do you get easily annoyed by your friends or family who invite you to parties from direct sales companies? You feel super awkward because you’re not interested in the product so you either make up an excuse as to why you can’t go or you feel obligated to go and end up purchasing something you never really wanted in the first place just to help your friend out? Or maybe you have a friend who has signed up to sell from one of these companies and you’re constantly getting notifications or messages from them about purchasing products or about joining their team. Has this made you hate direct sales and MLM/network marketing companies? If so, I get it. I’m both the person who has been super frustrated with direct sales for all of those same reasons AND has done them. Let me explain the real underlying reason why you don’t like direct sales though … it’s the same reason why you should love it. Stick with me here.

All of these different companies offer an opportunity – given, some are better opportunities than others – that make it easier and more affordable for an everyday person to become an entrepreneur and own their own business. These companies allow you to get wholesale product that you can sell (which is really helpful if you personally use the product – yay discounts!), a compensation plan that allows you to potentially get paid VERY well based on the fact that you are training people, and gives you a community that shares a common ground making it easy to develop friendships and be surrounded by successful people who can build you up and give you impeccable training to reach the same goals that have gotten them where they are. Not only that, but these companies tend to offer perks. The one I am part of, for example, allows you to earn a car and go on trips. Furthermore, some of the perks of owning your own business allow you to write off business expenses, work from home or anywhere you’d like, and plan your schedule around your personal life. For those who want to own a business, it completely cuts out the overhead that comes from a brick and mortar shop. 

85% of millionaires are self-made and 82% of women who make over $100,000/year do it through a home-based business. These companies offer a stellar opportunity for people to take control of their circumstances and give themselves choices in their life AND the beauty is this opportunity can be whatever you make of it. If you want to be part of the 85% statistic, you can. If you just want to make $200 extra a month to cover your car payment, you can.

That is why so many people join these companies. These companies allow mamas to stay at home with their babies, college students to have extra pocket money, and gives anyone the ability to make a flexible and rewarding career out of having their own business.

All that said, not everyone is cut out to run a business and not every person that runs their own business will correctly train their downline like they should. This is why so many people start and stop. Typically, they either don’t want to do or can’t handle the work that is necessary to reach certain incentives or their upline didn’t train them well. The other possibility is that a particular company and the person weren’t the best fit for each other.  This happened in my case. Everything about the company was great except there were a few things that didn’t fall in my favor for being successful; I didn’t love the product, I didn’t love one of the stereotypes that surrounded the company, and the training was not modern enough for the kind of business I wanted to run.  

When deciding which direct sales/MLM company is right for you, there are some things you need to consider:

  • Do you love the product?

If you don’t love the product, you [probably] aren’t going to be able to sell it and why would you sell something you don’t love?

  • What does their compensation plan look like?

This is where the big money comes in at. Find the company with the best compensation plan. The strategies are the same everywhere, if you are going to train people you might as well get paid as much as possible for doing it. Work smart – not hard.

  • How many distributors, consultants, representatives are there already for this product?

The household names have been around for years and with them you are more likely to find that someone already knows someone selling those products. Try to find a company that is on the rise with unique products.

  • What is the company environment like?

You probably want a company where the leaders are encouraging, motivational, and inspirational. You want to be surrounded by successful people who are accessible and sharing their ideas to help you get to where they are

  • What are the company’s restrictions and guidelines?

You never know what kind of idea you may have especially with marketing and selling online that may not be in compliance with a company’s terms and conditions.

So it’s annoying and sometimes frustrating to be bombarded with people asking you to buy from them or to join their team, but the majority of them are learning how to have a business for the first time – a business that they are hoping will change their life and give them choices. Talking to the people you know is the first step in getting comfortable reaching out to people you don’t know which is necessary in order to be successful. Not to mention they are probably excited to share some products they love and an opportunity they love with you. You don’t have to love the products and the opportunity may not be right for you, but it’s good to know different options that are out there. After all, isn’t that why we watch YouTube videos and read blogs? People need people. People need each other’s support – and that doesn’t always mean buying from them. We should want to see our friends and family be successful with what they do because we will want the same and need the same thing from them at some point.