Kim Hall, Author at Engaged Marriage | Page 5 of 5

All Posts by Kim Hall

About the Author

Kim Hall created Too Darn Happy to help you build stronger and more joyful relationships through offerings of fresh perspectives and practical advice. Having been a wife for thirty years and a mom for almost as long to two daughters, she also shares occasional cautionary tales of her own character building life experiences. Kim recently authored her first ebook, Practicing Gratitude and Discovering Joy-Thirty Days to a Happier You. You can connect with Kim on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, too!

3 Easy Steps to Creating Your Walk Away Shoes

By Kim Hall | Finances & Careers

3 Easy Steps to Creating Your Walk Away Shoes.001

Did you know there are unique and free, must-have shoes for your wardrobe?

They complement everything better than any others you own.

However, sometimes they are not really comfortable and actually feel a bit constricting.

And yet, they are an absolutely essential accessory, day or night, at home or at work, or for casual or formal affairs.

These are your Walk Away Shoes.

If you are familiar with Dave Ramsey, you have heard the term “walk away power.”

He uses it in regards to getting great bargains on items that you want that are a great fit for what you need.

Simply put, it is your rational mind winning out over your emotional heart.

It’s what gives you the ability to offer great advice to your friends, yet what you sometimes ignore when making your own decisions.

For example, have you ever been shopping and been so taken by the HUGE DEAL being offered that you just couldn’t say no?

Once you got home with your treasure and let a little time pass, you discovered it was more of a pumpkin than a glorious coach.

Perhaps you need to find a new job, and you say yes to one that sounds exciting.

Again, as time passes, you realize you were swept away by the glamour and now have obligated yourself to something that is a poor fit.

Don’t you just hate when that happens?

Having your Walk Away Shoes on allows you to put your Emotional Self on mute so you can clearly hear your Rational Self.

This doesn’t mean that you have to turn into a boring and robotic decision maker.

Au contraire! It’s a matter of changing your perspective:

The concentration is not on getting that adrenaline rush from the search, or the shopping, or the solution-finding, but getting that hit of joy and satisfaction later every time you savor the results of your great decision.

To help you experience gratitude for the choices you’ve made rather than cringe-inducing guilt and remorse, here are the three steps so you can create your very own Walk Away Shoes.

The 3 Easy Steps

1. Gather quality information

As Seneca wrote long ago, Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Know the average retail price, characteristics and possible problems of the item you want, whether it’s a piece of clothing, a tool, or a house. Learn where the bargain sites are, online and off. If you are looking for a job, gather intel on how the company treats their employees, a true picture of regular responsibilities, and the opportunity for advancement or higher pay. If you are buying a house, learn all you can from others. If you are buying items for your home, know your room measurements, colors, etc. If you are shopping for clothes, make sure your closet is organized so you know what you already have, and learn what looks and feels best on you.

When you gather quality information, you will get a much bigger and clearer picture of what is available, and how it might—or might not—fit into what you want and/or need.

2. Set parameters and stick to them

We have all felt the siren call of desire coupled with our ability for instant justification, all tied together with the big bow of pride. Who among us hasn’t admired that adorable dress that just doesn’t fit quite right, but it’s so amazing and it’s such a deal, or felt the pull of keeping up with our friends and family so we’ll buy this boat because it will be something we can enjoy together, or craved the perfect job that has a longer commute than I wanted but I’m sure it will be worth it.

How often do we succumb only to be so sorry later, after the dress has gone unworn, the boat has busted the budget, or the commute has worn us out?

When you set parameters, especially in relationship to your overall goals, you are drawing a line in the sand. This line will keep your emotions from writing a check that your rational self can’t cover.

3. Create emotional distance

Have you ever said anything in the heat of the moment you were sorry for later? Me either. 🙂 Have you ever promised something in an emotional moment? Uh huh. We get lost in the emotional thicket of our present, and allow that to guide short-term decision making. Remove yourself physically from the situation and take more time to mull over the information. Often putting physical distance between you and the decision/situation allows for space for emotional distance, too. Take time to pray, or to meditate on your individual parameters for this decision and whether it aligns with your overall goals. Here is a simple and powerful exercise to create that emotional distance without even leaving your chair. Need help first setting up goals for an amazing marriage and life? Read this.

Trying to make a quality decision in the midst of heavy emotion is like trying to say no when your mom offers her fresh from the oven, homemade chocolate chip cookies to you.

Just not going to happen.

When you make each of these steps a habit, you will have created your custom-fit Walk Away Shoes, and you will find you are able to make more and better decisions with less stress and more joy.

Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from.  ~Vernon Howard

Question: What do you see as the biggest benefit of having Walk Away Shoes?

 

Original Photo credit: Jesslee Cuizon

Got Talent . . . or Doubts?

By Kim Hall | Finances & Careers

Got talent or doubts?It’s a brand new week with the same old job.

Ugh.

Yet again, you dig deep for your gratitude attitude so you can do more than just slog through another awful workday.

But still, you might be thinking these thoughts:

Must be nice to have a job you love.

Must be nice to be so good at what you do.

Must be nice to have a financially rewarding career.

These sentiments are all too common in a let’s-settle-for-safe world while continuing to envy others.

You stay in a job where you are unhappy because you know you couldn’t find anything that pays better.

You are content with good enough because you don’t believe you have the talent to be something more.

You keep your head down and do what you’re told because you are afraid of the consequences if you do otherwise.

It is here you run smack dab into the Myth of Talent.

This is the lie that claims only other people have natural abilities that take them to amazing places, leaving everyone else condemned to workaday lives on the treadmill of mediocrity.

I was introduced to the phrase The Myth of Talent in an article written by Craig Tanner. In that piece, Tanner shared his journey from feeling “trapped, depressed and burnt out” to a fulfilling life as a professional photographer and more.

One nugget really resonated with me:

The truth about talent is this – talent is a set of skills you develop over time through desire.

Think about that simple premise:

Talent is a set of skills you develop over time through desire.

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, author Cal Newport writes about career capital.

He argues that “traits that make a great job great are rare and valuable, and therefore, if you want a great job, you need to build up rare and valuable skills—which I call career capital—to offer in return.”

Talent—that set of skills you develop over time through desire—becomes career capital you can use to invest towards a better life.

Does this mean that you can be absolutely anything you want to be?

Of course not, as there is something to be said for other circumstances, such as the importance of physical traits to some career choices.

However, it does mean you can take a fresh look at where you are today and choose an area on which to focus.

Through this intentional pursuit you will grow your skills and have much more to offer in the workplace.

Plus, when you are more competent, you are happier.

Where is the best place to begin?

Right where you are, whether that is un- or underemployed, re-entering the workforce, or creating an entrepreneurial enterprise.

It’s time to give your doubts the heave-ho, because you do have talent.

Just imagine finally bringing this treasure chest of currency to light!

You may have already become deeply knowledgable about research, organization, problem-solving, or an area such as finances, relationships, or on how to do/create/build something, and you have become the go-to person for help.

If you look back, you know it came through lots and lots of deliberate practice, even though you may not have recognized it as such. This is the simple version of the path you took:

Learn.

Act on the information. Check results.

Learn from your mistakes. Do it again, better.

Rinse and repeat.

A helpful resource to reveal your own talent(s) is the worksheet What do they know? from life/career coach Joel Boggess.

You’ll need just three of your closest friends and/or family to answer a few short questions that will provide you with lots of great food for thought.

Speaking from experience, the information I gathered from my family was priceless in helping me identify potential career capital. Let’s face it: sometimes people who know us and love us can see us more clearly than we can see ourselves.

Another great question courtesy of Joel was “What is it you just can’t not do?”

Read that again: What is it you just can’t not do?

What that means is that wild horses can’t keep you from doing these things, it is such second nature for you.

Sometimes your family tells you to stop, thank you very much, even though others find your contribution very helpful.

For me, that meant offering practical information to help people live happier lives. I’ve done it as far back as I can remember. As a matter of fact, I’ve joked that when I hear two moms talking in the supermarket in the next aisle over about a problem, it takes all the willpower I can muster to keep from speed walking on over and offering a resource or two.

I think my husband and children used to live in fear I would actually do that one day.

Be prepared for pushback from family, friends, and fellow business people, and especially from yourself.

You’ve heard him, that inner naysayer that says you aren’t good enough, it’s too hard, or that it won’t matter anyway.

When you hear that voice, it’s time to fight back.

As author Mel Robbins writes in Stop Saying You’re Fine“To grow, you have to do the stuff that feels hard right now, not later.”

That being said, there are managers and/or companies that just won’t ever recognize the capital you offer as legal tender.

To quote Newport, they:

1. Present few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable

2. Focus on something you think is useless or perhaps even actively bad for the world

3. Force you to work with people you really dislike

At one point in my life, I was on a first name basis with #1 and #3.

I was sure that if I developed even more rare and valuable skills, my employer would appreciate my contribution, pay me more, and treat me better.

I’m also sure I don’t have to tell you how that worked out, but I will.

It didn’t.

If you recognize any of these three, it may be time to re-evaluate how and where you are spending a third of your life.

To help you through that process, refer also to The Three Door Rule.

Remember as well you will reap benefits in your marriage  by making a change.

Got talent?

You bet you do, and there is a world waiting for you to share it.

 

Question: What has been your experience with searching for and/or discovering your talents?

 

Image credit:  Paul Inkles via Flickr

What do Dave Ramsey and Michael Hyatt know about marriage that you don’t?

By Kim Hall | Finances & Careers

What Dave Ramsey and Michael Hyatt know about marriage you don'tHave you ever considered that the quality of your marriage has a huge impact on your career?

Positive ways a healthy marriage enhances your career:

Your spouse provides comfort, acts as an accountability partner, and is able to contribute a different perspective.

They are able to help ground you when you start to wind up and encourage you when you start dragging your feet.

They can link arms with you to step forward as one into opportunities and help you move in a different direction when you are no longer a fit with your employer.

Negative ways a troubled marriage impacts your career:

Your spouse pecks at you constantly, wearing down your enthusiasm and joy and spreads a pessimistic point of view.

They are able to make you question all you do and encourage you to be distrustful and disdainful of your employer.

They see the worst in you and everyone and can become an anchor that drags you down in every area.

To paraphrase Aristotle, The whole—i.e. marriage—is greater than the sum of its parts.

The whole can be an incredible engine to take you most anywhere you want to go, but it can also drive your career into the ditch.

Dave Ramsey of Financial Peace understands this and makes marriages—and your finances—an integral part of the hiring process.

Author Michael Hyatt puts a great deal of weight on the marital relationship as well when making decisions on a potential new team member.

Can you imagine being scheduled for a job interview and being asked to bring your spouse along to be part of the Q and A?

How about as part of the process, you are asked to provide a copy of your personal budget, too?

Does that stop you in your tracks?

I know it gives me pause, even though our family budget is in order and we have been happily married for thirty years.

The two businessmen share below about the relationship between marriage and careers.

A couple of steps in the hiring process at Dave Ramsey’s company:

Spousal Interview

One of the last steps you should take before a hire is an interview with the candidate and his/her spouse. The spouse will tell you pretty quickly whether the position will really work for the family.

Personal Budget

Each candidate at Dave’s company sends in their personal budget during the interview process to ensure they can support their family on what we’re paying for that position. You don’t want to hurt someone’s family by allowing them to take a position they can’t afford. Besides, broke and desperate people do not make good team members.

Michael Hyatt adds to the conversation:

I like to take a person and their spouse to dinner before hiring. I want to see how they treat the wait staff and how they relate to one another.

I have stopped the hiring process cold a few times as a result of what I observed in these situations. I remember one time Gail kicked me under the table, because she had picked up on something I had missed. Her concern was corroborated by our reference checks, which were already in motion. This exercise saved us from what would have been a disastrous hire.

Simply put, how you behave speaks louder than your words, and in Ramsey’s case, how and where you choose to spend your money speaks volumes about your priorities.

These two leaders use this additional information to get the best fit possible for both their organizations and the potential team members.

Would you like to enhance your career by improving your marriage?

1. Improve your marital communication. Dustin has terrific resources here, which include a recommendation to read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book helped my marriage—and my relationship with my daughters—and I’ve written a quick reference to get you started: Five Secret Paths to the Heart of Your Family.

2. Create a Marriage Mission Statement. Dr. Ann writes, “A marriage mission statement helps us to focus on how we want our marriage to bear fruit. Even when day-to-day living is mundane or difficult, a mission statement keeps our eyes focused on a greater prize. And it strengthens the teamwork between you and your spouse.” She shares the how-to here.

3. Get your finances in order. It’s easier when your communication is clear and you headed in the same direction. Click here to get started. Remember that gratitude plays an important part in your finances and your marriage regardless of where you are in your journey.

Benjamin Disraeli said, “We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.”

And that is what Dave Ramsey and Michael Hyatt know: People who intentionally cultivate strong marriages bring the fruits of those relationships—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—to their careers and help them flourish as well.

 

Question: How has your marriage—for better or worse—played a part in your career? 

Original image credit: Freddie Peña

Life is Pounding at the Door: Are you ready?

By Kim Hall | Finances & Careers

Life is pounding at the door. Are you ready?Do you remember those first, heart-pounding moments of playing hide and seek?

100, 99, 98, . . .

As your friend began the countdown, you raced for the best hiding place you could find.

Sometimes, just the blink of an eye would pass before you’d hear, “3, 2, 1. Ready or not, here I come!”

You knew your goose was probably cooked at this point.

There was always someone, though, who was the last to be found.

You know why? Because they were ready before the countdown began.

Life is a lot like that.

We don’t hear anyone counting down our moments, but it is happening nonetheless.

Sometimes, it is for the wonderfully exciting: finally meeting the one, or welcoming our bambinos into the world.

Other times, however, it’s those seconds that feel like hours as we wait for a proverbial shoe to drop, that long In-Between.

And every once in a great while, we round a corner, and WHAM!

We run smack dab into an unexpected life event, those experiences that carry the potential to dramatically and negatively change our circumstances.

Money Magazine reported that 78% of Americans will have a major negative financial event in any given 10-year period.

Being the optimistists—or ostriches—that we are, however, we often carry happily on, sure that everything is and will be just fine.

Who wants to think about dark times ahead while the sun shines so brightly?

ocean wave sunshine

Well, Noah did, as he built his ark. Joseph, too, took action. Over the course of seven bountiful growing seasons, he gathered so much grain it was beyond measure.

They were ready when the difficult times began and thus softened the blow considerably for their families.

Granted, these are extreme examples, but you, too, can take small and regular preventative steps to help sustain your marriage, family, and four walls during stormy weather.

Where to look to solidify your defenses

Consider the main areas that make up your life: Financial, Family, Career, Personal Growth, Physical, Spiritual, and Social.

The quality of your life, and the resulting ability to hold things together when faced with adversity, comes from careful tending to each area.

When an area is full, Murphy is less likely to come knocking at your door.

It also means you can draw upon other areas when he does.

For example, if you are hit with a medical emergency, you can rest in the knowledge your finances are in great shape, including your emergency fund.

If you lose your job, you can gather comfort and support from a solid and healthy relationship.

You want to be free to focus the full measure of your attention solely on the main area of need.

We are going to talk about each section, particularly in relationship to the whole, as a pie.

The question is this: How much of each slice do you regularly keep on hand?

Pie of life

How to measure where you are

If you look at the diagram, you will see full and equal slices in each area.

That does not represent real life, by the way.

The more attention you give to an area, the fuller that slice of life is.

For instance, let’s say you are spending sixty hours a week at your job. Your Career slice would definitely be full-size. If you are the reigning Olympic Couch Potato Gold Medalist, your Physical slice of pie will be just a few crumbs in the pan.

That’s pretty fitting when you think about it.

Sketch out a quick seven-section pie-chart on a piece of paper, using the areas I’ve noted. You can add others, or rename any, too. Do what works for you. And remember this does not have to be perfect.

For each slice, color from the center out. The more area that is colored represents the greater amount of attention being paid to this area. Make a judgement about the percentage of attention given. Use a scale of one to ten, one being almost no attention, and 10 being a lot. Color that amount in on the slice.

Spouses, you can do this exercise together or separately: it’s up to you.

How to decide what needs adjusting

Once you are through assigning a value to each slice, take a look at the entire pie.

Do any slices jump out at you as dramatically fuller or emptier than others?

Do you or did you have a sense that certain areas were out of balance, and this diagram confirms it?

Remember that what is required of you and your spouse ebbs and flows depending on your season of life.  When your children are infants, your family may require a great deal more attention. If you are building a business, your career may demand many more of your hours.

You have to regularly assess and reprioritize all areas.

There is no single, right formula, and no perfect, one-size-feeds-all pie.

It’s about what keeps your family happily and steadily fulfilled, prepared, and moving forward.

heart muscle cartoon

 How to strengthen areas

1. Financial. Get your finances in order: Do a budget, create an emergency fund, get out of debt. Dustin has lots of great resources here. Did you know that having better control of your finances gives you a greater sense of hope and improves your marriage?

2. Family. First and foremost, keep your marriage strong. Find simple, frugal, and enjoyable ways to fill your family’s love buckets. Remember that small things can bring big satisfaction. A close family and strong relationships provide great shelter in a storm.

3. Career. Choose to be happy where you are, or find somewhere you can be happy, because a happy mom and dad are a precious gift. Do the positives of the job outweigh the negatives? Is it a means to an end? Do you want to move into something else? Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, maintains a supportive and uplifting community of over 12,000 entrepreneur-minded individuals. Check them out. Loving what you do pays priceless dividends to you and your family. I speak from experience: I went from Scaredy Cat to Too Darn Happy.

4. Personal Growth. Growing in your skills and knowledge can help with a new career, advancing in your current one, and your general overall satisfaction. Plus, being a lifelong learner is a great role-model for your children. Sign up for a class, attend conferences, learn how to do something new. Remember the kids will be leaving home one day, and then it will be just the two of you again. It’s great to continue to grow so you are both still interesting. 🙂

5. Physical. Just get up and move. Take walks. Play tag with your kids. Eat wisely. Sleep well. Meditate. When you don’t take of yourself, you won’t have the strength or immunity you need to handle a crisis. Plus, if you don’t take time to be well, you will take time to be sick. Check out Dustin’s helpful links here.

6. Spiritual. Grow your relationship with God. Pray, especially before you are knocked down to your knees. Refresh your spirit by going to church, joining a small group study, reading your Bible, devotionals, or websites that enrich and challenge you. There are a multitude of resources available-check with a friend or on the web. Your faith will sustain you through life’s most difficult times in a way that nothing else can.

7. Social. Make friends, join a club, attend concerts in the park, have other parents over for potluck game nights. You do not need to become a hermit just because you are married and possibly have little ones. Neglecting this area is easy to do, especially as a parent, but be intentional about creating and maintaining these relationships, both as a couple and singly. They will fill an important space in your life, as well as that slice of the pie.

There you have it: A plan to identify and fortify the main areas of your life so you will be as ready as possible when life pounds at your door.

I encourage you to spend time and attention to creating the right mix for your family.

Then, when those hard knocks come, you will be able to stand strong and leave the hiding strictly for fun.

Now it’s time to go play: 100, 99, 98, . . .

Question: What slice of your pie is most in need of filling?

Image credit: Eran Sandler

How Counting Your Blessings Can Help Lower Your Debt

By Kim Hall | Finances & Careers

How Counting Your Blessings Can Help Lower Your DebtYou have decided to get on board the Dave Ramsey debt freedom train, but you are having trouble keeping up your momentum.

Every time you start to make a bit of progress, you get derailed.

You might have trouble resisting the siren call of I deserve this, or My kids shouldn’t have to suffer because of my bad decisions, or Everybody goes to Disney.

Perhaps it’s painful emotions that stop you in your tracks: fear, anger, anxiousness, bitterness, deprivation, or even hopelessness.

Whatever the case, you need a different approach, because what you are doing just isn’t working.

You are powering your new journey with the same old engine

While you made the conscious decision to take control of your money, you may not have addressed the automatic behaviors that have been years in the making. We all have scripts running behind the scenes in our minds, often without our knowledge or consent. Somewhere, somehow, someway, these scripts were laid down as the the playbook for how things are done.

For example, you might have some scripts that sound like this:

Being a good parent translates into buying everything on your child’s Christmas list.

Taking a great vacation equals spending thousands on a family getaway.

Having a positive self-image requires regular and large investments in clothes, makeup, and jewelry.

The fuel for these scripts is supplied by emotions, such as pride, jealousy, insecurity and more.

You are allowing others to plot your path

While emotions provide the fuel, culture ignites it.

Marketers conduct exhaustive studies of what causes people to spend money. Companies spend billions of dollars using that information to convince you that what you are and what you have is not enough, and that you should be able to have whatever you want. When you buy into their message of discontent, you effectively give up control of your spending.

The solution is to create a firewall of gratitude

Firewalls have one purpose: to keep dangerous things out.

Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier, described another type of protection:

Gratitude can serve as a firewall of protection against some of the effects of these insidious advertising messages. When a person wants what they have, they are less susceptible to messages that encourage them to want what they don’t have or what others have.

Such a simple concept with such powerful possibilities!

When you develop a firewall of gratitude, you are erecting a barrier of thankfulness which effectively blocks those negative, cultural messages of the necessity of being, doing and having more.

Learning how to practice gratitude

Most importantly, understand that gratitude is not conditional.

wrote previously on this subject:

At its core, gratitude is about learning to be deeply grateful in the midst of the storms, whether relational, spiritual, vocational or financial.

The apostle Paul wrote a letter of joy and gratitude—from prison—to the Philippians: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”

Former Prisoner of War Commander Paul Galanti, said “There’s no such thing as a bad day when you have a door knob on the inside of the door.”

Another wartime prisoner in a concentration camp, Corrie ten Boom, wrote of being grateful for the continual infestation of fleas in her barracks, because it kept the guards away. She and her sister were thus able to read and share the encouragement of the Bible with the other women.

Being grateful for discovering weakness revealed, for a working doorknob, for the torment of fleas.

Gratitude simply requires regular practice in seeing all things with a fresh perspective.

Below are five ways you can begin:

1. Write down three things a day for which you are grateful. To quote Robert Emmons again, “This practice works, I think, because it consciously, intentionally focuses our attention on developing more grateful thinking and on eliminating ungrateful thoughts. It helps guard against taking things for granted; instead, we see gifts in life as new and exciting. I do believe that people who live a life of pervasive thankfulness really do experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of life by not feeling grateful.”

2. At dinnertime, go around the table and take turns sharing a “thorn and a rose”. This means recalling a difficult point in your day, plus one thing for which you were grateful. As time goes on, you may discover what others have: finding gratitude in every situation becomes easier, and the focus on the negatives fades.

3. Keep a Thanks-Giving Journal for your spouse. Darren Hardy of Success Magazine relayed a story of having a tiff with his wife and later writing a card to her in which he shared his gratitude for her. While he struggled at first to look for those blessings, he found his attitude towards her had completely changed to one of deep love and thankfulness once he finished with his message. He expanded his writing to a year long journal of notes of gratitude to and for his wife. This project caused him to look for the good every day in his wife,  which in turn changed the way she responded to him. The process produced absolutely the best year of their marriage, and it has just kept getting better and better.

4. Make a game of gratitude. If you are traveling with your family, you can call out anything you see for which you are grateful. It can be simple, like a green light, or more difficult, like a pile of manure (fertilizes crops!). You can take turns calling out objects along the way, and asking members to see how they might be grateful for them. This is great practice for seeing things in a fresh perspective.

5. Find gratitude right where you are. If you are having difficulty finding your blessings, here is a snippet from my free Practicing Gratitude ebook to get you rolling:

Draw an imaginary circle six feet around where you are right now. Carefully view everything in that space as a potential object of your thankfulness. Here are just a few things you might see: a floor, a roof, windows, air, appliances, clothing, your hands and feet. Think beyond the object to what it represents: freedom, relationships, the ability to work or to hold a loved one’s hand, security, safety, warmth, etc. Express your gratitude for those things. Nothing is too big or small to qualify.

Take note of who or what is bothering you today. Change your perspective so you can see the good, and express your gratitude. Did you have a run-in with a surly person? Give thanks for the reminder to always be gracious and respectful.

The firewall of gratitude is a force so mighty it will make you faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Ok. Maybe not.

However, counting your blessings certainly will strengthen your marriage and provide a shield against over-spending. In essence, it will help you find happiness wherever you are, so that you can apply your combined energy, joy and optimism to lowering your debt!

How can you be more intentional about practicing gratitude?

(Photo by latteda)

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