Sunday, October 18, 2015

Home is Where...

I am a sentimental fool. Nostalgia gets me every time. I don't cry at sad movies, but real-life sentimental moments get me every time. It is safe to say I inherited this trait from my dad. I don't say that with any intent of saying that is a bad thing. My dad often gets caught up in the sentimentality of the moment, and I've often heard him talk about stories from college and the days gone by. My mom, though, isn't like that. She possibly holds all those moments and memories inside, but what I hear from her is more chit chat about the here and now.

This summer brought out a little more of the nostalgia in me, and more so it got me thinking about the idea of HOME. When you hear that word, what is your first thought? Does your mind wander to the house you grew up in or the one where you currently live? Some consider HOME to be a place or a feeling, while others think it is the people that can make a place feel like HOME. All those thoughts have been summed up in the following popular phrases:

Home is where the heart is...
Home is not a place, it is a feeling...
Home is where you hang your heart...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately because my parents have been in the same house for the last 35 years, and it is looking like by next summer they could be relocating. Yes, that means they have lived there since I was 4, so there are a LOT of memories connected with that house. As I think about them residing somewhere else I have wondered whether it will still feel like HOME. So, is HOME about the place, or the people? Let's analyze...

Here it is, my parents' home where they raised 5 children for the majority of our lives. It is by far nothing grand or glorious, but a blessing all the same. Its claim to fame is the fact that we had a green driveway until about a month ago. Yes, you read that right, a green driveway. I can vividly remember driving up to the house for the first time as a 4 year old and seeing that green driveway. About a month ago my dad repaved it, but you can see faded remnants of the green by the back door step.

There are many more memorable moments connected to the place, and I'm sure all homes have them. The living room window where we would ride our bikes up to it in the summer and play McDonald's drive-through....the tree in the back yard we would climb....the small hill in the back we would sled down...the sidewalk behind our house that took us on hundreds (thousands?) of bike rides to the park and walks to school....the La-Z-Boy recliner where I took many awesome naps and where I planted myself one Thanksgiving break to read Gone With the Wind straight through...both the kitchen and dining room tables where many long post-dinner chats and laughs were shared and treasured....the lilac bush outside my bedroom where we actually formed and held meetings for the 5M Club...the back step where we ate our ice cream cones after supper...and the list could go on and on.

Then there are the smells, whether good or bad. I can smell the house at Christmas time, with the fresh evergreen smell in the summer of my parents grilling wafting through the windows...the musty smell of the always brewing in the morning...

You can't forget the sounds....Packer football games on Sunday mom's wonderful laugh...siblings practicing piano....Christmas records brother playing nerf basketball games in his room...the sounds of the wooden steps to the basement...

As I sit and reflect about what I just said about the PLACE that I call home, I realize that PEOPLE are connected with almost every single one of those memories. In a few months I'll probably celebrate my last Christmas (my favorite memories) at my parents' house. When they move will it still be the same? Will the ornaments and decorations look the same in a new place? Will the music sound the same? Will the food taste the same? Yes, it will probably look and feel different. I admit it will take me a second to adjust, but in the end I know I'm blessed because the PEOPLE that I have been blessed to make these memories with will still be there. I can still talk and laugh around a dinner table, even if it isn't the same one. I can still smell my mom's phenomenal cooking. I can still hug my parents and thank them for all the have been and are to me....they are my HOME.

My husband Jesse and I have lived in our current home since May of 2008. We have raised two vivacious girls, and we have lots of memories made here. I consider this my home, but in all reality I still feel more tied to my Milwaukee home. Not sure if that is because I spent a majority of my life there, or because the people that had such an influence on me growing up and where I am today still reside there. Don't get me wrong, I'm blessed beyond measure and love our little corner lot here in New Ulm. I'm sure when our girls grow up they'll look back at this house like I do my parents' home.

In the end, it really doesn't mean much. Is it the place or the people? It really doesn't matter. All the nostalgia and sentimental good feelings are connected to our temporary earthly homes. I get sad thinking about my parents moving. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a tinge of nostalgia when they move thinking about all the wonderful blessings and memories we experienced in that home. With that being sad, far more important than them making our house feel like a HOME, they taught us to look forward to our heavenly home. If I'm sentimental thinking about all the great places and people I call home, it is just a tiny, minute glimpse of the glory we shall see someday in heaven.

Simply put...I'm always home.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

This Crazy Thing

This weekend marks my 2 year anniversary of being a Crazy Wrap Girl. Wait...a what!?!?
(For those of you new to me and the company It Works, it is a health and wellness company and our flagship product is referred to as "That Crazy Wrap Thing." Feel free to check it all out at

Yes, it is hard to believe but two years ago I took this leap into direct sales with It Works Global. No one could have been more surprised than I was that I did this. Up until this point in time I never considered myself a sales person, and truth be told I hesitated from going to any kind of direct sales parties for various reasons. 

So how, you may ask, did I get started with It Works? Well, I had a friend who became a distributor with It Works that introduced me to the products. I fell in love with one of the products (the Greens) which literally changed my life. I was perfectly happy just being a customer, but after unexpectedly losing a job I loved our family was looking for something to help pay some bills.

So, two years have come and gone and there has been a lot I've learned about this crazy adventure I'm on. I'm no guru on the topic, just some average middle-aged woman that decided to jump on board this world of direct sales and is still managing to stay afloat. 

It is rewarding to do something like this when you are passionate about it. My health has always been important to me, and that is why I like to watch what I eat and exercise on a regular basis. As I said before, some of the products helped improve my health in big ways, and it has been so awesome to help  others feel better and improve their health as well. No offense to other direct sales people out there, but I personally know that I still wouldn't be here two years later if I was selling jewelry, tupperware, etc. That just doesn't drive me. Staying healthy? Now THAT drives me.

 It isn't sales. In the end, it is really just about sharing healthy options with others. The times I've unintentionally slipped into sales mode have not been very productive.

It helps if you are a little outgoing and willing to stretch your personality a bit. I had always told myself I would never put a bumper sticker on my matter what it was. I now have an It Works sticker and a car magnet.....go figure. To make it in direct sales you have to be willing to meet new people. It is a good thing I like talking to people, but I would be lying if I told you it is easy to always approach a stranger and strike up a conversation. All in all, it is FUN being a Crazy Wrap Girl.

You get out of it what you put into it. Your business only works as hard as you do. Your team doesn't work it for you. I actually had a heart-to-heart with our team lead the other day about this. I take full responsibility for me not being "further" along. It probably sounds strange, but I think a great part of it lies in the fact that I love everything else in life.
Allow me to explain...Not all, but many others have gotten involved with It Works (or another direct sales business) because they loathe their job and want to find a way out. That is not the case with me. I love my job and find myself putting hours in outside of work. This summer I was passionate about the Summer Reading Program I did, and that got my full attention. Just last week I finished up helping organize several events for MLC Homecoming. It took a lot of my time, but I didn't mind because I liked doing that. The result? My business suffered. On the one hand, your business will keep going, but it won't keep growing if you don't do anything about it. One of my goals going into year three is to better manage my time between all these things I love, along with being a wife and mother of two.

It is possible to do this as a that supports each other. I've had many question me about the "pyramid scheme" in direct sales. I love the fact that with It Works it is not that way. In our company you can promote higher than your upline. That being said, we all work together to help each other and support each other. I truly have made some good friends and had a lot of laughs on this journey.

It has given me the opportunity to give back to others. Not only have I been able to share health and wellness with others, but I was able to give back and help a friend get books for her classroom. My husband and I have more than once been blessed by the kindness of strangers, and someday we hope to help pay it forward to others in return. Not only did I join It Works to help pay off bills and get financial freedom for our family, but I want to be able to help others like it has been done for us.

It is about the customers. I greatly appreciate each and every one of my customers. That being said I'll be the first to admit that I haven't done them due justice. I've let all the other aspects of my life take over this part of my business. Another goal of mine entering into year three is to change this, for the better.

It isn't always easy. Our company has given us a very simple blueprint to help us succeed with our own business. It is a simple plan, but it isn't easy. There are times when you hear NO after NO. Days when people tell you that you are nuts. People can be offended and rude about the oddest things. You take a lot of rejection, but it makes you appreciate every great conversation with future customers even better.

Since I'm being honest I'll admit that I almost decided not to continue with this into year three. I'm not where I thought I'd be at this point in time, but I can't give up. I won't. I've seen the potential this company has, and after investing my time, money and effort I just can't turn back. I'm doing this for my family. Above all, and more importantly, I can't because of YOU. All of you reading this drive me to keep going. I just want to help others. That is the pure and simple truth.

Simply put...I'm going to keep wrappin' on.