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Category Archives: Balancing Life And Dreams

Mountaintop Couples Retreat- Part I

imageThe couples retreat was heavenly.  Began the journey with an easy car ride through the mountains filled with deep conversations stemming from the workbook.  I felt lucky in that my hubby was completely on board with the idea and I didn’t feel I was forcing him to do anything.  It definitely helped that we were both extremely overworked (hubby had two days off in the past seven weeks) and  were in need of time together, away from our precious kids.

The previous post centered on why we were doing a couples retreat.  This post centers on how to prepare for a couples retreat (or simply time you plan together to discuss life, your relationship and direction).

Prep

While we based our retreat off a workbook specific to a Christian focus, there are any number of retreat workbooks out there.  The important thing is to ask and answer questions as a couple that help get to the root of your direction in life, values and the direction you want to go for the next month, year, five years…

I highly suggest that each person review the workbook during the week before the retreat.  Starting even earlier would have been helpful.  The more time you have to think, pray, dream and daydream over the topics and plans for your life as a couple- the better spent your time together will be.

Focus and Ground Rules

It helps to began the trip knowing what the focus of the retreat will be and the ground rules.  The focus should be on yourself and not on changing your partner.  This of course triggered recall of one of my favorite quotes.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” ― Aldous Huxley

This is critical, as a sure way to block progress would be to bring up past grievances you have with one another.  Which called to mind another favorite quote.

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We proved this one to be a true but more on that in the upcoming Mountaintop Couples Retreat- Part III (sounds like a horrible movie sequel).  Thankfully our retreat was anything but horrible.

After a shorter than expected drive, we arrived in Telluride, which is every bit as breathtaking as its’ reputation.  We entered the resort prepared for our three days of couples visioning and planning for our family’s future.

We were then royally upgraded to a beautiful residence and patio all overlooking the view posted at the top.  Gratitude, my constant mantra, was easy to come by in this moment.

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Success

 

imageThankful.

Retreat filled with beauty, comfort, deep conversations, life changing plans, and facing fears as a team. Including, my first mountain bike ride (pretty extreme, long and amazing- you can see a bit of the trail just above the raging creek).  More to come…

The Imagining Process: Part 1

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With the budget firmly in place and the financial plan running pretty much on auto-pilot, I am shifting gears to a series on the first tenet of this blog: imagining the life one wants to live.  There is nothing so personal.  No one can create this for you and no two people have exactly the same vision. It is the result of a lifetime of self-exploration and discovery.  That said, there are steps and tools that have aided myself and many others to visualize a self-directed path through life.

I like to begin this process by creating a Life Manifestation Board.  This is similar in process to the money manifestation board.  Creating this physical representation of what matters most to you in life, makes life change easier and decision-making much clearer:

  1. Start with a pen, paper, scissors and any flat surface (poster board or wrapping paper will work fine). *( If you would like to start the process now and don’t have the supplies on hand, simply create these categories on your phone, computer or a piece of paper.  You can always recreate the physical board at a later time.)
  2. Cut approximately 30 cards large enough to write a word or two
  3. Write 2-5 “Core” values each on a separate card.  These are the essential beliefs/needs you have in life.  For example, these might be health, spirituality, passion, love, beauty, etc.
  4. Then list the Manifestations of the Core, the ways the Core are expressed or shown in life.  Examples include family, exploring, creating, children, work.
  5. Then list the Actions that carry out the Core and Manifestations in your life. Examples include, helping others, eating healthfully, exercise, gardening, etc.
  6. Tape or glue the cards onto the board.  Keep the Core at the top, Manifestations in the middle and Actions at the bottom.
  7.  Spend time looking at what you have created.  Is there anything missing?  Are there things in your life now that occupy a lot of your time and energy but to not fulfill your imagined life?  What can you cut out of your life today?  What can you add?
  8. Place the board either in view or somewhere you can easily access when in need of focusing on your personal map for how you want to live your life.
  9. Refresh your Life Manifestation Board over time.  You will learn and grow and this map of your path should change with you.

 

Budget, Recap Week 4

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After keeping a budget for 4 weeks, what have I learned?

Things don’t create happiness.  Living honestly does.  Learning does.  Sharing ones truth does.

As for money, it has regained its place as a tool not a master.

Have we kept to the budget?  Yes and no.  We kept spending within the jar amounts set for each week.  We even had money left over that we were able to redistribute to areas we want to save for (our New Years vacation!).  On the no side, a couple big things happened this month.  Hubby left his job and as a result received a larger check (leave payout, small bonus).  Since he already has work lined up for the month (thank God!), we used it to pay for some big ticket items (new tires and a snow blower, exciting I know).  To go back to our plan, future windfalls will be distributed according to our windfall plan.

One huge change in my life resulting directly from implementing a budget with my spouse, we don’t fight about money anymore.  Not once in four weeks.  This is a big deal for us as we have regularly fought about money  in the decade we have been married.  What was the change?  We each have “allowances”, an amount we receive a week to spend how we chose, no questions asked.  No more tiffs over lattes or drinks with friends, no more comparison of who spent what on clothes.  We are a team on the big picture of how we use our money and the day to day stuff no longer matters.  It is clear when we are meeting our goals.  Since we have completely combined our finances since day one, this means financial peace in our household.

Tell me, do you bicker over money? Do you give yourself an allowance?  Any tips for how you have found financial peace in your household?

 

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