Love Is Always Coming Back Home

PS: We’re running a HUGE promotion in March to celebrate Local Collaborative’s one year anniversary. Make sure we’ve got your email so you’re the first to be notified!

I’ve been with my husband for eight years and married almost four of those years.

In the grand scheme of things that really isn’t that long but it does hold a lot of weight when you’re together during some of the most transformative years of your life and building a foundation for forever.

There is so much I have learned since being with him but without getting all mushy and excessively serious…

Love is more than emotion.

It’s actions.

A majority of my friends are in ‘normal’ relationships as far as their career and their partners career. They leave in the morning, they are home that evening, they have the weekends off and the occasional short-term business trips where they can talk each day. It’s been interesting to see the difference in our relationships and what works for different lives.

If there’s something I have noticed about making the most of our time together it’s that love is more than emotion; it’s actions.

It’s not always the warm and fuzzies like when he surprises me with flowers or impromtu lunch dates. Sometimes it means he changed my oil or unloaded the dishwasher.

It’s compromising on movies or omitting cheesy foods from their plate.

It’s me taking over duties so he can relax when he gets home because I want to spend time with him. And him not expecting that of me.

It’s me realizing not everything has to be done all the time, right away, and we can sit down.

It’s recognizing the sacrifices made or things you have done for one another. That day, that week or in the eight years of knowing each other. This one has been the most challenging since it only makes sense that we want a life together but it was a series of choices and sacrifices that allowed that to happen. The worst thing you could say is ‘You know what you signed up for’. Recognize it. Acknowledge it. Appreciate it. Don’t take the fact that someone adjusted their life plan to match yours for granted. And don’t hold the fact that you did that over their head as a bargaining chip the rest of their life. For one reason or another you both made the choice to be together.

Love is being there when they need you even if they don’t say they need you. It’s being there in silence and it’s being there as a sounding board.

It’s doing things without being told or asked or expecting those things of the other and getting upset when they don’t read your mind and it doesn’t happen.

It’s standing up for one another, protecting one another, advocating for one another. I have always heard ‘We’re on the same team’ or ‘We make a great team’ but didn’t understand what that actually meant until my teammate reciprocated. You should always have each other’s best interest at heart.

It’s loving each other’s loved ones and doing the same for them.

It’s about having a bond so deep you’re ready to share that with someone else via charity, volunteering, church, community outreach or a child. Gary Chapman said

“Your emotions will always influence you but they do not control you.

Love is an attitude.”

It means I love him even when I don’t feel like I like him. And trust me when you live together with no barriers, walls or personal space sometimes…you’ll understand what that feeling is like.

As I have said before its Us and We not You and Me. It breaks my heart when I see people stuck in a relationship they hope will work out because I was there, too. It’s scary to be set in what is familiar and not wanting to be ‘alone’ or start from the beginning. Are you spending longer sitting in a dead-end road or are do you recognize this path didn’t work, turn around and head in a different direction?

You are worth that. Your happiness is worth that. It’s in more than someone saying ‘I Love You’ and ‘I’ll do better.’ It’s what they do with their actions. They say they love you but what are they doing to show they truly mean it?

You will be spending a lot of time with that person. Are they someone you want to be like? Be around? If you want kids are they someone you want to be connected to forever? As a role model to your nieces or nephews?

 

I believe you can be in love several times in your life. It’s a basic human need to connect and want to be wanted. You usually pick someone who makes sense to you. You connect all the events you have been with together as the bond you share. But those events are placed there to develop you into the person you will be for the rest of your life. They had their place there and sometimes that means leaving the person you experienced that with in that place behind you.

 

You were raised by people who were in a place just like you. At some point in their life they made dumb choices, they had their ‘first’ everything including the time they became first-time parents…and they didn’t know what the hell they were doing either. Maybe they still don’t.

So much of adulthood is unlearning bad habits, guarding ourselves from bad experiences we had or assuming because you never saw a healthy relationship you won’t have one either.

But you can. Just because you were raised on fast food and instant boxed meals doesn’t mean you can’t make healthier choices now.

Just because you were raised in a home where disagreements were won with who could yell louder, leave faster or hit harder does not mean that is how it should be. You can learn from that.

Just because your parents argued daily and divorced doesn’t mean you will follow the same route. take what you did like and change what you didn’t.

You are not your parents, you are not your siblings, you are not your mistakes. You are your own person and your own family. You need to protect that, uphold that and stand firmly in what is best for you; not most convenient for them to understand.

 

You deserve someone who fits in with all the awkward, weird parts of you.

You deserve someone who is easy to be with. It won’t always be easy but if there’s no expectations from each other and it’s still the best day ever…that sounds like an easy-to-love life to me.

You should be laughing every day and not feel guilty when you break down in front of them. You need to show up and be entirely who you are because you are an entire person. And they, too, are an entire person. One that you’re learning something about every day. You can be each other’s better half, you can compliment each other, you can depend on one another and you can still be independent. You can rely on each other while still relying on yourself.

 

I’ve heard actual comments made about marrying into the military for money, about not knowing what to do for yourself when you’re alone, about being dependent and always giving something up and coming in second place to his job. We didn’t decide to get married because I didn’t want to work. No, I did. I’ve heard people say they’re too independent to commit to someone else.

We didn’t get married because we thought it would boost our self esteem. We got married because we realized how dynamic we are together. And when he is gone I can still keep things going. My biggest struggle has been finding a fulfilling job and contributing like I want to. But he’s been there supporting whatever decision I have made, no pressure whatsoever, and encouraging me to pursue what he sees makes me extremely happy.

 

Marriage, especially in a MILSO position, is like when you really (realllyyyyy) like the way your spouse mows the lawn but when they’re gone you have no problem doing it. It would be great if they could take care of those errands while they’re out and you’re busy but if not, you are more than capable of doing them yourself. It’s having zero communication and still being able to keep your life together going. It’s being able to handle whatever situation you’re placed in so they can focus on getting back safely. I don’t know if you would actually find someone who needs to be a more independent person than a military spouse. (Keyword needs to be.) 

You should be respected even when you don’t agree on something. Because you won’t always agree on the correct way to fold towels or who is the better driver. You should both find each other worth the irritations that come with spending life with another person.

Since dating we have always had a rule.

Rule #1: Always Come Back Home.

If you need to walk away from a fight, go cool down. But then come back.

If you’re going on a trip, go. I’ll be here when you get back.

Even if it’s just a normal day going into work you both know you’ll be coming back home at the end of that day.

If you’re gone for one week, three months or one year, go do what you need to do. Just come back home when you’re done.

Love is not always just saying I Love You. It’s coming back home.

Cheers to you and all you love!

Marin

PS: We’re running a HUGE promotion in March to celebrate Local Collaborative’s one year anniversary. Make sure we’ve got your email so you’re the first to be notified!

It’s Not The Leap of Faith That Scared Me. It’s The Landing.

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We’ve all shared that feeling of being at your lowest of lows. When you can’t seem to do anything right, nothing fits, you’re in a bad mood, you’re secluded and isolated and the deafening combination of noise and silence is all that surrounds you.

Which makes the highest of highs even sweeter.

I’m talking you don’t know what to do next because you are so overwhelmed with joy. you get a phone call, a text, an email…and you just sit back to stare out the window, hands clasped and repeat ‘Thank you, GOD, for this!’

 

So I also know the last thing you want to do when you’re in a low is hear about someone else’s high point. If you want to bookmark this and come back later, no offense taken. But I am such a believer in finding the positive out of the sh**iest day (YOU.ARE.ALIVE! YOU ARE BREATHING!) that I hope you will stick with me and know that my DM’s are always open for you to slide in and talk to me.

 

I look back at the girl I was as a young adult/teen and it amazes me how ‘fearless’ I was. I tried out for everything I could, I interviewed for every job, I applied for every scholarship…you name it I was probably there.

It was never taking that leap of faith into the unkown that scared me.

It was trying to figure out how or where I would land. 

 

I wasn’t worried about having to dance or sing or speak in front of others. No, not at all. In fact I was known for usually impromptu-ing the entire thing.

It was when the results came in that I felt the sense of embarrassment or excitement that usually comes from a performance or interaction.

 

Let’s take dance for instance since I am currently figuring out yet another foot injury. (I promise I am a 25-year-old with 80-year-old bones.) 

I learned the technique, the movement and how to land. I memorized the entire routine and big picture in my mind and all it took was a few bad falls to land sideways and roll my ankle HARD to make me timid of approaching it again. Babying an injury that usually resolves with I.C.E. Then, once you’ve cured the issue, you head back out for your next ‘first time’ and you’re fine doing things full out.

This was quite literally a leap but I understand we all have similar experiences. You ever have those dreams where you’re flying or jumping on a huge trampoline and you just keep going and going like Superman pushing the atmosphere into outer space?

And it’s an amazing, euphoric feeling to FLY!

But then you realize you are a human….and you aren’t built for flying.

Cue your stomach dropping and that sick feeling deep in your gut trying to figure out the next move. How will I keep going? How will I land? Uh oh, going back down better figure this out quickly.

 

In both of these experiences I was most scared about the landing. Getting height on your leap or knowing you can fly are some of the best feelings. Only when you are up as high as you can go do you realize how much you can see around you. You can see the big picture, every person you love, the good, the bad, the ugly, maybe even a glimpse at the future. But you have to take the action and make the jump to see that.

You’ll never know if you never try.

 

I find it ironic that the thing I was most scared about–aka falling on the ground, landing on my face, breaking something— was the one thing holding me up. The foundation I was standing on, the thing that holds up multi-story structures, protects us from elements and storms, literally grows and re-grows living things…and I was concerned it would let me down???

How selfish.

I love this quote.

if you think

Your foundation is your faith. Your discipline. Your family and friends and support network.

You are standing on the ground without literally ever questioning how else you will walk, not afraid of falling in (except city grates those things I avoid at all costs) it’s as natural as breathing and you’re telling me you’re more powerful than that?

 

As we approach the one year mark of starting Local Collaborative, I am reminded of the fearlessness and determination I felt when setting my site to live and publicizing my new venture. The chain of events leading up to the launch were extremely evident and on my mind daily. When the opportunity arose to find another work opportunity or create something I wholeheartedly believed in; I chose to chase after what set my soul on fire.

I know a lot of things I want out of life and I’m intimidated by declaring a ‘purpose’ but I do know had I settled yet again for being taken advantage of, smothering my creativity, following mundane tasks that led nowhere quickly…I would also be headed no where quickly.

 

I had no clue that I would go months without replacing my income and I am still nowhere close! But I’m fine. We’re fine. I feel no stress. I would be doing this for free if I didn’t want to contribute to my family’s income and time is my currency. I love collaborating instead of closed-off delegation and the flexibility this allows me is exactly what our lifestyle requires.

I often think about if I were given the chance to go change something in my past or take a glimpse of my future…I would probably go change something in the past. If nothing else but to guide that fearless but lost and insecure girl. I find so much of the payoff and surprise of the unknown takes you back to your roots, your gut instinct and trusting the foundation you’ve built for yourself thus far.

 

A challenge is inevitable but defeat is optional. Even if you ‘lose’ you will gain a lesson.

Don’t worry about how big that leap of faith is. In fact, I hope you take it and soon! No matter how, the ground will always be there to catch you.

 

Cheers!

Marin

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“My Success Is Inevitable.” And The 10 Step Action Plan To Get You There.

In the Winter 2018 publication of Success Magazine Harris Faulkner shared her bits of wisdom on a feature page in the back. I loved everything she mentioned and hope to get my hands on her book “9 Rules of Engagement” soon!

Harris shared answers to several questions but one of my favorites was her favorite quote. I agree with Harris that my favorite is always fluctuating depending on what I was going through or needed in  that moment.  Her fortune cookie left her with “My success is inevitable.” It’s a great reminder that you are where you are supposed to be and, so long as you keep working and moving forward, you will be successful and end up just where  you need to be.

The answer that stuck out the most was her definition of integrity. Her prompt was “Integrity is…” to which she answered and I will paraphrase ‘That thing you do when nobody is watching.’

The definition of integrity is ‘the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.’

It’s when you find money on the ground and return it to the waiter who dropped it. 

It’s when you have the opportunity to break the law but choose not to. 

It’s when you hold yourself accountable for your words, thoughts, actions when you’re alone or with others. 

“Take care of your words when you’re with others and your thoughts when you’re alone.” 

A person of integrity, a person of success, a person with knowing all have a plan. I also read in this issue that being ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ is not an excuse for wandering aimlessly. You can always change your mind about who you want to be but you must always be working toward something. 

To keep working toward something, you need to create an action plan. This will help you get started in the direction of your goals and allow for flexibility should you (probably) need it later on. This is something we do with all of our clients in the Branding + Positioning Strategy which you can check out here.

  1. Set SMART Goals. The first thing we learn in any communications class is how to set SMART Goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Instead of saying ‘I will raise awareness on diabetes,’ try ‘I will prepare 200 infographics with a checklist of tasks and due-dates to help identify pre-diabetes and distribute at the health fair by April 1.’ This allows you to track progress and see how well you performed. 
  2. Identify your audience. Who are they? What do they look like? What do they sound like? How do you communicate with them? On which platform? All of these questions and more are answered in our Branding+ Positioning Strategy.  
  3. Hire in the direction you want to go. In the time it would take you to learn, try, research and implement something by ‘just doing it yourself’ take a look at who around you could help out. You can find graphic design students, Fiverr freelancers, SAHMs, Facebook job postings or a family friend to take care of the things you can let go of. Use your time where it makes sense for YOU to be. If it’s not 100% mandatory you do a task, delegate it. 
  4. Identify Opportunities. If you’re a crafter, what holidays or occasions are coming up? If you’re a decorator, before what events do people want their home decorated? Find a problem in your industry and provide a solution for it. What is the biggest pain point for your clients and how can you fix it? This is often done by a little field research as informal as a Facebook poll. 
  5. Income. Even when you think the last three months of business have been booming there is always a chance that funnel will dry up. By creating products, email campaigns, eBooks or other services you can guarantee yourself, and your employees, continued paychecks. If you’re a coach and someone can’t (or doesn’t want to) pay your monthly coaching fee, would they settle for one call a month at a lower cost? Implementing a referral program or short-time offer is a great way to bring in new clients while servicing your loyal current clients. 
  6. Move forward every day.  It’s easy to feel burnt out in your endless pursuit to success. Each day you should be taking a step toward what you want to achieve. What would a fitness icon do today? They would workout even if they didn’t feel like it. What would a millionaire do today? They would make that phone call they might not want to make. You are always choosing. You can read a book or watch a TV show. Which would be more beneficial? You could choose to sleep an extra 30 minutes or you could take a walk. Which would be more beneficial? The best thing here is that the answer is different in every situation. Some days you will need to de-stress with trash TV and sleep in instead of working out and eat a bar of chocolate instead of an apple. Balance. You control your decisions. 
  7. Network! Building a network is much more than a business luncheon to pass your business card around. Meeting locals in or outside of your industry allows you to get the word out about your offers and work with others you may have otherwise never known. Networking provides the chance to meet your mentor and create an accountability group. You could be someone’s inspiration and you’re doing no favors by playing it shy and small.
  8. Take Action! A blessing and a course, my sense of urgency still gets sh*t done. My husband is very much the type who wants to put things off and is never ready to start in fear that it will never be perfect enough to put out. I encourage clients to be well prepared but you will never know what works or what doesn’t if it isn’t public. You have nothing to improve if it doesn’t exist. 
    Want me to review your current work? Just ask!
  9.  Log Your Hours. Keep a log on your computer of where you spend your time. Much like a timesheet when you’re on a 1099 contract, log your time for a week and see if you’re spending the most time on projects that make you the most profit and make you the most happy. 
  10. Review and Improve. After implementing, testing the course for a while and reviewing your log, review what is or is not working and how you can make it better. Even if things are going great there is always a way to make the customer experience better, increase employee morale, or add-on to a current offer. Fix anything broken and reward yourself for a job well done. Thank those who have helped you thus far and be kind to those just coming in. 

I hope that you know your success is inevitable. You can slow down but you cannot stop. As long as you never give up, you will succeed. 

Cheers to taking action!

Marin

Are you ready to put your plan into action? Let’s go!

Thanksgiving As A Lifestyle

If you’re like a majority of my social media feed, your house (and mind) are probably decked out for Christmas already.

But we have to celebrate Thanksgiving first!

 

Usually my husband and I spend Thanksgiving as Friendsgiving since we live far away from family. Last year we were in Hawaii! You can read about it here.

This year, however, my in-laws will be coming to visit us and spend a week as a family of six people and two dogs.

Wish us luck on the two dogs part….

 

 

I  enjoy Thanksgiving because of the delicious comfort of traditional food, being surrounded by family and friends, watching parades and football, playing games and enjoying each other’s company with warm-scented candles and cold drinks.

In my family we pray before we eat. Right before we’re allowed to grab a plate we form a circle, hold hands and bow our heads.

We thank God for blessing us with a healthy, happy family standing to our left and right, a roof over our heads so we can celebrate together and how fortunate we are for everything we have. We also have a tradition of going around and saying what we’re thankful for. It often includes a few sarcastic remarks to make us laugh, a few sentimental comments but mostly saying we’re thankful for what is considered mundane and common.

Then we eat.

And an hour later someone will be napping, the kids want a piggyback ride and 10 people are looking through Black Friday ads.

 

 

Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It’s a time to express gratitude to those who helped you, thankfulness for having overcome trying events and appreciation for everything good in your life.

I’m thankful for my husband and my marriage. 

I’m thankful for my dog bringing humor and love to our life especially when I’m alone.

I’m thankful for a car that works, a beautiful home and the opportunity to work.

You remember the feeling of the love, the gratitude and the initial pull at your heartstrings when someone mentions your name or something you’ve done.

If you’re wanting to give this feeling to someone else in your content, download this free guide.

 

 

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be reserved as your once-a-year good deed. It’s a lifestyle.

A lifestyle of expressing gratitude, showing appreciation and spreading joy. It’s a chance to reflect on how thankful you are for people and experiences; negative or positive.

If you haven’t already hopped on the gratitude journal train, let this be the time you try it out. Just give it one week. Just try it. You have NOTHING to lose.

Literally. Nothing.

 

Every morning write three things you’re grateful for. Think of five things and list them out. If you can think of ten things, write down ten things you’re grateful for. I challenge you to come up with something different every day. Stretching past the obvious and easy topics encourages you to focus on what you take for granted or what makes you happy.

When you’re actively looking for gratitude, you will find it. 

 

The idea of writing down what you’re grateful for provides a visual of how much positivity you are surrounded by. I often flip through my old entries and can see me going in and out of slumps or where my mind was at that time. I forget I was thankful for the sunshine, a trip or flexibility.

Finding gratitude and appreciation in your daily life is proven to reduce stress levels, improving self-esteem, creating change and gaining new perspective. It also helps attract more of what you want (Law of Attraction) and forms self discipline in your daily routine.

Many people often pair gratitude journaling with meditation, prayer or just staying silent in a moment of self-care (which might be your only moment of silence all day.)

 


 

I’ve been a confused child, a dramatic teenager and a college student surrounded by chaos. I have always aimed to do my best but know I have made mistakes and experienced many things only few know about.

In times of wanting comfort and support from others I found people who could care less, people who smirk and reply with ‘I told you so’ or thrive on the secrecy of disappointing news. In the times when I was physically or mentally alone it helped to bring myself back by realizing every good thing I did have.

If you’re struggling with diving past 1) Family 2) Friends 3) Health on your gratitude list, think deeper. Write down every detail and find the positive in every step. I’ll use my day as an example:

  1. I woke up. I’m grateful for that. 151,600 people die each day
  2. My phone alarm went off. I’m grateful I have a phone and the money to pay for it. 14% of the global population don’t have access to electricity.
  3. It was raining so I didn’t take my dog on our usual morning walk. I’m grateful for the rain and a house to protect us from it. More than 20 percent of the world’s population lacks adequate housing.
  4. I worked out. I’m grateful for a healthy, fit body that’s capable of moving. 5.6 million Americans are paralyzed. 
  5. I ate a healthy breakfast and threw a healthy supper in a crockpot. 1 in 6 Americans face hunger.
  6. I took a hot shower. 25% of the world’s population don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
  7. I worked on my computer while listening to an audiobook. I’m grateful for technology to connect to people far away. I’m grateful for my hearing and sight. 700,000 individuals in the U.S. have some level of both vision and hearing loss.

All before noon. If you realize how lucky you are, even in a horrible circumstance, you are still alive to experience that.

And that’s something to be grateful for in itself.

 

Getting Started

I prefer pen and paper in a journal so if this appeals to you grab a fun pen that glides across the paper, a journal that excites you to look at and, another thing I did, place stickers randomly throughout the pages. I also flipped to random pages and wrote quotes or inspirational sayings.

You will come across those pages at just the right time (like this) and they can also work as writing prompts should you get stuck.

 


 

I can’t wait to hear about living a life of thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation. There is a difference between saying or believing you are and actually living as if it’s true. In your words, in your actions and in everything you surround yourself with I hope you are thankful.

 

Cheers and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Marin

Looking for ideas to promote your business over the holidays? I have some ideas I would love to put to good use in someone’s business.

Schedule a time for us to talk.

Please use them!

Three Year Anniversary (11.07.2015) Paper, Cotton and Leather

You know those moments when you know “Oh yeah, this is going to be big. This is one of those moments” and do everything you can to remember every little detail?

It may have been a first kiss. It may have been a major moment in history you witnessed. It may have been when you saw a shooting star.

I have a few of those myself but three main ones come to mind:

  1. Swimming solo in the Mediterranean
  2.  The day Drew proposed
  3. The day we were married

 

November 7, 2015 I married my best friend, my better half and my rock.

Three years ago we did not take a honeymoon but have made every weekend, every holiday and every single day an adventure. Words always fall short when I try to describe the type of person my husband is or why I love him but it has always been made clear we were created, raised and meant for each other.

He makes me laugh. Every day.

He makes me smile. Every day.

He makes me work harder. Every day.

He encourages me. Every day.

“Love is not about how many days, months or years you have been together. Love is about how much you love each other every single day.”

 

 

In traditional anniversary gift-giving Year One is Paper.

It’s believed that paper is the traditional symbol for the first anniversary because it signifies writing the blank pages of a new chapter in life. It also is a fragile material which represents the delicate state of a new marriage.

From the moment we were engaged I started keeping a journal of our year-long engagement. I wrote about how difficult it was being away from each other, how exciting it was to book our venue, how sweet it was to countdown to the rest of our life.

I wrote my vows in that journal and each year on our anniversary I will pull it back out and write to him/us. The papers of this journal are completely blank. They’re stark white, empty, blank; ready to be marked with the thoughts and milestones of a couple that will never be in that same stage again. If we had lines, we would be guided. If we had prompts we would be influenced.

But the pages are blank.

Only we decide what goes in them, what we never want to forget and we can focus on exactly what is best for us.

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu

One Year Anniversary. Photo by Liz Rudman.

One Year Anniversary. Photo by Liz Rudman.

For more One Year Anniversary pictures by the insanely talented Liz Rudman, check this out! You can check out the location of the shoot here

 

 

Year Two is Cotton

The traditional gift for a second wedding anniversary is cotton. It symbolizes the need for a marriage to remain strong and be able to adapt to changes. The significance of the ‘gifts’ to symbolically mark the years of your relationship is not lost on me. As more time passes the material of the gifts grow more durable and valuable.

On our wedding day we opted to symbolize our unity by tying (literally) a fisherman’s knot with two golden ropes. This has remained untouched since our wedding day and the knot: solid.

During our cross-country move the end of one of the ropes was broken up a bit. The three strands that made up the rope separated but did not fray. It stopped midway up the rope without touching the knot. While I have yet to fix that, I could glue it. But that doesn’t take away the fact it was ever broken. It experienced a tribulation, a slight trauma but it still stuck together. It was held by the solid knot, surrounded by everything meant to protect it. If I were to glue it, it might look a bit better physically but that doesn’t erase what had happened.

 

Our second year brought challenges. Oh yes, it did! Job changes and promotions. My car was totaled by a drunk driver going the wrong way on I-5. Medical and health issues. Petty fights together and big relationship changes with others. There were sacrifices as individuals, there were sacrifices by family. I brought the gift of efficiency, attention to detail and small daily gestures to ease the stress of his job. He brought humor to tragedy, tight hugs when I could only cry and he lead us through several tough, challenging decisions.

Cotton can show up in many forms. It blends with other fabrics, it adapts to it’s environment and is known for holding strong in any condition. The higher quality it is created with, the longer it will last.

 

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.” Simone Signoret

 

 

 

Year Three is Leather

The traditional 3-year anniversary gift is leather, which is symbolic of the marriage reaching a stage of flexible durability. The modern third anniversary gift is crystal (or glass), which has a special beauty, yet is still fragile—again, both significant representations of a maturing marriage.

I feel like this is going to be my favorite stage. We have reached a mutual understanding of expectations.

He updates me on his schedule and what to expect and I’ve relaxed (a little) that we don’t have to clean, do laundry…plan..or cook…etc. the same way 😉 He wants to have a relaxed day on the couch watching football without doing anything and I want to get out of the house and go do things. We compromise and do both.

We understand that good intentions are better than having done nothing at all. We understand the type of people we want to be, the type of people we want to be around or avoid and the type of people we want to raise in the future should we be so lucky.

Our wedding song was “When You Got A Good Thing” by Lady A and listening to that brings back the memories and lyrics that we hold dear to our hearts. We never forget that we do have a good thing! A GREAT thing. A unique thing.

It has always been Us and We not You and Me. We understand every decision we make is for us. Not for family. Not for friends. Not for work. Not for selfish reasons.

But what is best for US. Our favorite thing to do is enjoy every little thing around us, living in the moment, understanding how fortunate we are. We love to try new places and beers, eat new food then make fun of how it was too fancy over french fries. We love having friends and family in our home and we love being alone with the dog.

We choose to trust and love each other every day.

We choose to always kiss goodbye in the morning and say I love you every day.

We choose happiness and to laugh instead of taking each other too seriously.

We choose each other, over everything and everyone else, every day. 

11.07.2015

 11.07.2015. Photo by The Grays Photography.

 

Cheers to Three Years! 

Marin

 

And if you’d like to watch our wedding video click here

 

“Lord knows we’ve had our bad days
And more than once we’ve disagreed
But you’ve always been a friend to me.
And there’s times I’d rather kill you
Than listen to your honesty
But you’ve always been a friend to me.”

-Garth Brooks, A Friend To Me

 

 

 

Midwesterners: We Like To Work Hard

I’m a Kansas girl who grew up on a farm in a small town that has yet to get stoplights. Let’s start by getting this out of the way.

No, I’m not in Kansas anymore!

Feel better?

 

People who weren’t from my home state usually said how boring it was but they weren’t able to appreciate barn parties and bonfires every weekend.

They would inevitably say how flat it was but, unfortunately, they didn’t stay long enough to watch the most amazing, colorful sunset sink into a clear, wide open view of the stars.

They think it’s funny when I say pop instead of soda.

Guys…I married a man who doesn’t like ranch.

I don't own the rights to this photo

 

Growing up in a town where my teachers taught my parents before me (and taught my siblings and cousins after me) had every challenge you imagine it would. But it also came with generations of built-in close friends and a community I loved calling home.

Like any high schooler, I was ready to leave home and get away to college but I never had dreams of living in a big city. I always appreciated and loved the simplicity of what was around me. It was familiar, it was humbling and it rooted something in me I could instantly recognize in myself and other Midwesterners no matter where I was.

Many stayed behind to start families, careers or take over their parents business. A few moved out to bigger, larger cities. A handful moved to other states or out of the country.

As one of those kids who (continues) to move around, venturing back home maybe once a year I felt the urge to share something with that high school girl who just started her senior year or that almost-college graduate wondering what the *!?#@% to do with his life. You’ve already been built up with one of the most admired work ethics in the country. You need to acknowledge everything you already are. It revolves around some basic things you probably heard in your household. The values and ethics you were raised on are something to hold close, be proud of and live by every day. Here are just a few…

You Get What You Earn, Not What You Want.

Work Hard. Stay Humble. It’ll Pay Off.

Help Someone Out. You Are No Better Than Them.

 


Big 12 Championship

Big 12 Championship Photo by Flickr. B Willard

You Get What You Earn, Not What You Want.

The biggest part of my childhood was 4-H. Every day, week, month and year was filled with leadership positions, livestock I was accountable for, kids I was a role model for, responsibilities and WORK before play.

While some friends spent summers going to the pool or movies, I was walking my sheep, selling corn or delivering eggs. While kids would come to the fair for the carnival, I was showing my animals, caring for them, working concession stands and representing 4-H at appearances.

I was rewarded with ribbons, trophies and sashes (which were fun and all) but the real prize was the money earned that would put me through school.

I was surrounded by others who would pay for their future education through baseball, football, volleyball or another sport/art. Being surrounded by people who were busy working two or more jobs, practicing constantly and choring daily instilled a work ethic that made you aware you got what you earned, not always what you wanted.

You didn’t get to harvest crops by not tilling, planting, watering or caring for them. You have to put in the work.

You didn’t get to win a state championship or competition by showing up never having practiced and wishing for the best. You lift the weights, you repeat your routine, you put your ego aside to work as a team and you go earn the title. You have to put in the work.

You don’t get the job just because you interviewed. You prepare, you might get it and then you prove yourself every day. You have to put in the work.

There’s a reason people in every industry love to recruit from the Midwest…

 


A man's glove should show what he has done not what he hasn't.

A man’s glove should show what he has done not what he hasn’t. (I do not own the rights to this photo)

Work Hard. Stay Humble. It’ll Pay Off.

This is a blessing and a curse I’ve heard about from many professionals. Because Midwesterners are raised to be humble and their work is usually done outside of the public eye, it’s difficult to ‘brag’ on yourself in a job interview when listing your accomplishments feels too showy.

I had turned down job opportunities in Kansas and Nebraska to follow the love of my life, who of course is totally worth it, around the world in pursuit of his demanding career. I felt like I had worked and won and worked and won…but I was faced with the greatest transition to date when I moved.

I need to throw in a very candid note for the military wives I have reading this…This still proves to be the hardest challenge of our marriage. Watching him get promotions while I struggle to find even a decent-paying job, only to move again is something MILSOs experience daily. It can be hard to get accustomed to a new area, make new friends, leave your family, turn down opportunities, lose control of your schedule and even your identity when you ‘always thought you’d live up to be more.’ I am beyond proud of my husband’s accomplishments but I crave to do something/be someone that he is proud of. I get it.

You will sacrifice most every privilege and ownership you’ve known. You will leave every comfort, place your belongings in the hands of strangers multiple times in your life, go months without speaking to your spouse and it might seem no one will understand.

I do. That’s the #1 reason I started Local Collaborative so I could have something I could control and provide a tele-working opportunity for other spouses and market businesses they own. If we’re not personally connected, please reach out here and connect to the socials below. You’re doing so much better than you think you are!

 

My first big-kid job was 100% commission selling insurance. Absolutely not what I ever set out to do but the drive to make a living and do something was making me stubborn. I immediately recognized the work ethic of those around me and what I was drawn to or what set me apart.

That showed with weekly stats, numbers and accounts and you don’t have to say a thing. People are attracted to doing business with someone who was transparent, ethical, honest. Be the first one in and the last one out. Your drive to figure out how to make something work far exceeded my humility from being told no 200 times a day (literally). Once you’ve learned the value of happiness then you don’t put a prize on things.

I’ve admired my friends who have also moved to new locations and picked up jobs they didn’t think they would have. I admire my friends who were brave enough to start their own venture and those who kept doing what they loved and knew to be right even if others didn’t agree. Just like at the dinner table, eat what you’re given and make the most of it. Be aware enough to walk away if a seat at the table is no longer being offered.

 


blue collar and white collar

Help Someone Out. You Are No Better Than Them.

 

“People here are so rude.” False. I believe that if you’re a good person, doing good things then good things will happen to you. Now is the time to use those church manners, bless their heart!

No matter what is said or done around you, you can never go wrong by being polite. Not because that person was a condescending A-Hole but because YOU are not the type of person to react by being a condescending A-Hole.

Throw a smile out there, be kind to an unkind person, hold a door or pull that shopping cart out of the parking spot even.if.you.didn’t.put.it.there.

A while back I heard a comment that ‘people who settled to be a bartender or waiter were just being lazy’ and ironically they also thought people in our area were rude. Being surrounded by family, friends and a REGION of blue collar workers, they’re willing to do a lot more and a lot harder work than most of us. You never, ever know what someone is going through and I would hope you would treat people as though they’re your own.

They could be a single parent, a student or someone who dreamed of owning their own bar someday so they’re loving your business!

They could be working this as a side job or something until they get back on their feet. TIP WELL!

If you don’t want to be around rude people then don’t be a rude person.

And don’t tell me you’re bored. Only boring people are bored.

 


 

In a small town when you win, you win together. When you lose, you lose together.

The compassion that farmers show to other farmers in times of a drought, fire or other disaster is astounding. That is a way of life, a paycheck and what keeps a family going. When we’ve seen one go down, there are ten more willing to help out.

farm to table

Some of my favorite memories are driving down the main street to see every sign that could possibly be covered filled with Good Luck messages. When our boys competed hard at state and just barely fell short of the win, the town still showed up late that night to cheer for them getting off the bus. When we were putting on a spring show that same team came in right after practice to watch and support us. When you lift others up you will also be lifted up. If that’s something you want then go put it out there.

baseball

One of my favorite things about going back home is the community that continues to stand for the same things we always have. Moving around will always provide you with growth and unique opportunities you wouldn’t get back home but there’s that familiarity you can always return to.

Where you likely spent 20 years of your life. Where you drove down main street with your friends, that road you learned to drive on, that field you snuck into, the playground you had your first kiss at or the swingset you had your first heartbreak at.

 

No matter where you end up, how high you climb or whatever title you receive, take your roots with you and remember where you came from.

Bring what you learned back to your town to help out. Thank someone who built you up and let them celebrate your achievements. Then go back out there and work even harder for what’s important to you. That yellow brick road will always lead you back home.

I know I just had to.

 

 

Cheers!
Marin

I do not own the rights to this photo

 

 

 

Ask Better Questions

“Ask stupid questions, get stupid answers.”

Or at least that’s what we’ve been told.

Why not “Ask better questions, get better answers?” It’s got the glass-half-full ring to it and provides us the opportunity to dive deeper in our relationships, conversations and learning.

If you ask better questions to potential employees, you get better employees.

If you ask better questions during a job interview, you get a better job experience and more learning or promotional opportunities.

If you ask better questions when you’re dating, you get better partners.

 

Asking questions to ensure or communicate that you’re still listening and on the same track is imperative in live videos, webinars and communications. Don’t just say you’re listening or give a false job as a hope to keep busy…you can offer real understand and valuable help if your communication is clear and accurate.

 

Another reason to ask better questions is avoiding group think. Group think is when you’re in a group of people, maybe a team meeting, and you’re trying to solve a problem. But you can’t seem to come up with any different solutions. It’s the feeling of knowing something isn’t right but there’s a tall, wide and thick brick wall just covering up what’s on the other side.

When you stay silent you become part of the group and don’t avoid being the ‘odd one out’ by providing a different answer. When you ask the same questions, you get the same answers. Ask something different, to a different person and you’ll get a different answer.

 

What you WANT to hear and what you NEED to hear might be different. Try asking the question that provides the answer you haven’t yet, or don’t, want to hear. Be original. Don’t just repeat the same thing to every person. By tailoring your conversation and paying special attention to what the person in front of you is saying to you, you’re able to ask because you’re curious not just because you’re nosy.

Show that you’re actually paying attention by elaborating on the last thing they said and translate the fact that you were actually there with them, listening to them.

 

Try this perspective out…It’s not always YOU that has to change.

It’s the other person that needs to better understand you.

That’s your job to communicate.

If you can’t effectively speak, write or communicate yourself (or your message) in the correct order then you’re identifying a weakness. By merging your best skills and strengths you can truly influence and solve a problem.

When you speak you’re always standing up and speaking to others. People are looking for that sign and encouragement of being with you. They’ll validate you externally or in a secondary action but you can’t improve your personal development if you’re not getting personal with your topics and audience.

 

If you’re a millennial reading this you have to understand we have the most valuable thing on our side right now: TIME. Don’t waste that by asking and learning the same thing everyone else is or is telling you what you should do. Branch out, be original, think for yourself and ask everyone you meet better questions.

 

Cheers!

Marin

A phone call is always free. If you’re curious about how digital marketing and creating a brand could help you, I’d love to talk.

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The Credit Belongs To The Man In The Arena

I was listening to Daring Greatly by Brene Brown when she quoted a passage so powerful I stopped what I was doing and just listened.

I recognized it as Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena.” I had read this before and thought it was great but then I met my husband and realized how important it was to him.

Image result for the man in the arena

When I first met Drew there were several Army posters hanging around his college bachelor apartment. One of them showcased a green beret above the statement “It says more about you than you’d ever say about yourself.” It was a sentence that instantly branded itself in my mind.

This was him. It was what he cared about and didn’t care about. It’s what he stood up for and what he stayed seated for. I had never met someone as humble, hardworking and steadfast as he was. He had always earned the best grades, performed as an outstanding athlete and was respected for his professionalism. The only time you heard the list of awards and achievements was if someone else was reading them off while he was earning another one. I was amazed, impressed and encouraged to be better.

 

In Daring Greatly, Brown shares how her daughter came home from school crying. To make a long story short, the two popular kids would pick their soccer teams a few people at a time by calling out their names. They would then ‘split the others.’ She was upset because she was never called by her name but considered an ‘other.’

Starting at a young age we are always distinguished between groups and rankings; mostly as a source of convenience but also as a progress marker. Personally I wasn’t the STAR athlete (I think coaches breathed a sigh of relief when I stepped off the court or field). I was on the JV squad and was embarrassed my parents had to come so early to the games. Surely they liked watching my sister play Varsity sports much better.

Those good at sports and then the others

I wasn’t the smartest, at home or in school, and was told so numerous times by adults. I was sent to Sylvan Learning Center in the summer, Jumpstart Math Classes during the school year and it was a miracle I never flunked math classes. But ask me to write an English paper, I would be done in 30 minutes with A+ work.

Those who ‘got it’ and then the others.

Do. NOT. even get me started with the cruel S.O.B called puberty. If you name it, I probably dealt with it: skin, bangs, glasses, crooked teeth, braces…so I know I wasn’t the best looking! But it all calmed down and soon the kids who made fun of me were experiencing their own bouts of ‘the uglies’ so it all worked out.;)

Those kids who were blessed and then the others.

 

 

You probably also felt as though it were me against the others as any dramatic teen ever did. In every situation I always felt as though it were me against the others as any dramatic teen ever did.

You don’t have to be a parent to recognize this. We were all once children.

You had days that were awful, days that were great, times you had your heartbroken, lost the game, flunked the test or had something amazing happen you committed to memory.

The thing is you kept getting through it. You have made it through 100% of your bad days and you are still going. The point is that you keep trying, keep working, keep fighting.

The credit goes to the man in the arena, not the man who is showing off his ticket to the game.

Too often there are people stealing valor, using their rank or position, bragging on their accomplishments, belittling those trying to make it…

You are going to be undervalued and overworked. You might be putting in the hours, the dirt, sweat and grime but someone else is the face of your hard work. They’re publicizing their piece when there are multiple others doing more, working harder and putting in the time.

You can be the person criticizing political choices on Facebook or you can take action to physically make something good happen. They’re the truly grateful ones not the ones who put on a facade of being one person but turn around and turn into another.

As Roosevelt said…the credit belongs to the man who keeps trying and trying; not the one who thinks he’s made it. “Not the cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” The people who know there is more success in avoiding complacency than there is in good enough.

 

In life, in love, in business…there is always something better than good enough. As long as you’re learning, working and pursuing what sets your soul on fire, you are the man in the arena. Don’t be the person saying how much you’re doing; be the person putting in the work and making a difference. There are those who will put pretentious titles in their bios, take credit for uncompleted degrees or post photos of the ‘sacrifices’ they are making.

Look behind them for the ones truly making a difference.

These are the ones worth knowing.

 


Do you still feel like you’re missing that one thing to take your business to the next level? I can help with that.

 

Talk soon. Cheers!

Marin

Four Phrases I Can’t Stand

There are a few words or phrases that seem to strike a nerve in everyday speech…c’mon we’ve all got them…

But there are a few in particular that have been standing out to me lately. I’ve heard them in my own speech, in my friend’s words or in conversations with my family members. I see them littering my Facebook page, haphazardly thrown in for a character on television or anyone else looking for a problem versus a solution.

Words like self-love, self-hatred, vulnerability, shame and guilt immediately come to mind when I hear these phrases and it not only breaks my heart but also frustrates me. These phrases are something I have tried to pay attention to in my own thoughts and instill in those around me. I am sure someone famous has said something more eloquent but here’s a little Marin-ism:

What you hear, you repeat.

What you think, you say.

Imagine everything you are saying or hearing is being said to a child. Would you correct it?

If someone were talking to a younger version of YOU, would you want someone to step in?

 

If you heard a someone being bullied or a friend was feeling down, you would of course step in. So why are you so doubtful and hateful to yourself?

In an airplane you put on your oxygen mask before you help others.

If you’re a parent or spouse, you should be taking alone time to recharge so you don’t check out when your family/spouse needs you.

If you’re offering someone comfort but have none yourself, you’re hurting two people and helping none. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

 

I encourage you to change the way you’re communicating with others. People will love your honesty and transparency. They understand you are a human and by being shameless and owning your message, you are choosing who you become. You are choosing what type of person people say you are; what type of person they’re respecting.

Take a look at these phrases I’m eliminating from my speech as often as possible. Let me know if they sound familiar.

 

I can’t.

…be that fit…answer that….do that…because….

I can’t drives me nuts when people use it as an excuse to get out of something. You CAN do, be, say or choose anything; it’s just up to you.

You HAVE time for what you MAKE time for.

There are how many(?) obese people who turned their lives around because they stopped drinking and eating crap and they went to the gym. Instead of fit say healthy.

I can’t be healthy.    Bullshit.

Your family needs you and there are plenty of people who WISH they had a capable body like you do. Use it. You are smarter than you think and more capable than you seem. If you must say ‘I Can’t’ then say ‘I Can’t Yet’.

BEST QUOTES ABOUT LOVE- Photo

 

I shouldn’t.

…leave early…say anything…go out…

To me, this is more internal. There are numerous times in your life when something happens and you SHOULD tell someone or say something but your mind thinks ‘I shouldn’t.’ In the U.S. this is a huge issue and can be seen as a clear difference between males and females. There are people with answers and secrets tucked away yet something inside of them is saying ‘I shouldn’t share this because…I will be called names/My friends will make fun of me/It will change how my family/friends/co-workers see me.’

How can we possibly share anything with an audience that is constantly shaming you for any decision you make? People will go after anything so do what you feel is right. If you have your work done and can go home, GO HOME. Who cares if you’re the last one in the office day-in, day-out? That’s exhausting, it’s not a badge of honor.

I shouldn’t say anything….Well are you telling or are you tattling? Are you telling a friend about a cheating partner in order to save some catastrophic relationship or are you tattling because you just don’t like the guy? Are you telling a friend the outfit is bad because it’s see-through or because it’s not what you would wear?

I shouldn’t go out….if you have some change to spare, go out. Your homework can get done in the morning. Don’t make this a daily lifestyle where you choose alcohol (or insert whatever your vice is) over responsibilities but life is meant to be enjoyed and you deserve some fun.

 

I should.

…do that…make that…organize this room…clean it out…I should, but…

I used to do this all. the. time. Mostly as a formality or a polite way to move along a conversation. It’s just easier than telling someone you’re not interested or don’t agree. Maybe four out of five times though, I didn’t follow through. By giving people a type of false hope or opening of a possibility, it drags them on. I’ve started politely being open and bluntly honest to save us all time. For door knockers, for salesmen, for whoever that one person is that nags you about that one thing; just do it and do it politely.

Change out ‘should’ with ‘won’t’.

I should clean out this room this weekend but honestly, I won’t so please don’t change your schedule.

I should look into buying this car but honestly I won’t be making a decision. I’ll call you if I’m ever interested.

In some of those interactions there is someone’s payday on the line. PLEASE, for the love of all good things, DO NOT give false hope where there is none. It will make a better surprise in the future than it would a disappointment.

Being candid from the start is better than always backtracking, creating excuses and coming off as flaky down the road.

 

It is what it is.

An excuse I heard numerous times in the world of a 100% commission Insurance Sales Agent. Not only did this just leave me frustrated, confused and let down but I had no clue what to say back or where to improve.

Now this is just a funny nuisance to hear but when people use it as an excuse to avoid change or use it as an answer, I refuse to accept it. Instead ask “Well, what do you mean by that?” Do they really mean ‘No’ or do they mean that it’s confusing so they’d rather shut it down than get answers to their questions?

Throw in some empathy but offer encouragement. Just because things are a certain way right now does not mean that they will stay that way. (THANK GOODNESS THIS IS TRUE FOR PUBERTY,  RIIIGHHTT?! 😉 

  • Take a minute to be upset. Punch a pillow, bawl your eyes out or write down how much whatever happened sucks. Because super sucky things will happen. These feelings exist because they’re important. Acknowledge them.
  • Think about it. Is there anything that you can change? Is it something you WANT to change? Is it beneficial, harmful, healthy or positive? Great. Then look at how you are going to get there.
  • And Go. Choose the next best step, do the next best thing and just start. If you decide this actually isn’t going to benefit you or isn’t worth changing then find the power in ‘It is what it is’ and move on. Something even better is about to happen.

 

Sorry.

This makes me cringe when used constantly. I understand this is a simple way to convey empathy to someone for something you truly do feel sorry for, even if it’s not something that you inflicted upon them.

But when you use it consistently, it starts losing it’s meaning. You’re apologizing for your feelings when it’s something that’s accurate? You’re apologizing for your actions but you keep repeating them? You’re apologizing for not being good enough?

Find better speech. Find more accurate things to say and describe what you mean. It will make you feel more confident and it will better share what your intention is. Put the woe-is-me away and bring out the gratitude you want to actually express.

Something about starting off with an apology always puts you in the wrong in the two steps back position when you probably don’t mean to. I would much rather hear ‘Thank You’ than ‘I’m Sorry.’ It leaves all of us feeling better.

I love this image every time I come across it and what better message to leave you with:

replace I'm sorry with thank you

 

What phrases have you changed up lately? Please share them in the comments with us.

 

Cheers!

Marin

Psssttt… Next week there’s a BONUS download…Make sure you’re following this blog to grow your business!

1) A false belief or 2) A BS excuse

*Feel free to share*

I went to our local farmer’s market this weekend and while we walked around purchasing random products and speaking to the owners, I noticed how they presented themselves and their tables.

One lady was head down, sitting, playing on her phone.📲 Another was standing up, energetically talking to every customer approaching the table and explaining how and why her treats were different, with a creative, cute, unique setup. 🙋🏼‍♀️

I went online to reach out to everyone and connect them with Local Collaborative. The woman sitting down had over 35k followers on Instagram (?!) and the one standing up engaging had only 300 followers. 🙇🏼‍♀️

Are you the one with 300 (or less) followers, feeling like you’re trying everything but it’s just not working and questioning if you should even do this for a living? 🤦🏼‍♀️

Or are you the 35k who think you’ve made it and have maybe taken a backseat. Maybe you don’t know the next step. You might want to sell, start something new, collaborate or expand but just don’t have the time to manage it all.

There’s a secret.

It’s absolutely priceless when you know how to communicate your story. Don’t let the fear of “not having a story” or “not being a good writer” keep you from achieving a great impact. I’ll let you choose what to call that: 1) A false belief or 2) A BS excuse. 💁🏼‍♀️

You can be both creative and strategic. Business can be fun. 💸🎉 Let this be a wake up call and take action ➡️RIGHT NOW.⬅️ If you’re a business owner or know an entrepreneur, please don’t hesitate to share.

Let’s find a solution to whatever problem you’re facing right now. Click here.

 

Cheers!

Marin