We are all pretty busy these days, aren’t we? I like to think of it as commuting to a corporate job during rush hour. That’s kind of how life is right now- BUSY.
For the last month, I’ve been practicing yoga at a local yoga studio where they have hot yoga classes (Seriously my new FAVE!), hard cardio classes that make you feel like you are crying from how much you are sweating (It might be tears too, though!), and relaxing restorative classes that help you relax and put off the stress from your day.
And then besides practicing yoga, I’ve also been listening to guided meditation podcasts. I’ll list a few of my favorites in this podcast.
I feel like it’s so easy to get consumed.
Do you feel me?
There are the day-to-day stresses, bills to be paid, clothing to fold, dishes to wash, among other things. And then by the end of the day you flop onto the couch like a dead fish. You know it.
I am so excited, you guys! I recently got a NEW job! And I’ve been loving it. I’m still an entrepreneur working from home. This opportunity has seriously opened a whole new door for me and Johan, especially when it comes to adding more money to our bank account and also making a difference in children’s lives across the world. It’s a WIN WIN!!
So far, I’ve been teaching English to Chinese students for a little over a month. And all from the comfort of my home. I love it.
What I’ve Learned My First 30 Days With VIPKID
First off, one of the biggest things I’ve learned from teaching with VIPKID, is how blessed I feel to work with these lovely children. They are so talented, smart, and dedicated.
I mean, I don’t think I would have been up at 9pm learning Mandarin when I was 4-years-old. I appreciate them so much. I was so excited when I got the job with VIPKID. I love how it really gives me more time for my family, dreams, and goals.
One of my favorite times of the day is sitting at home wrapped in a cozy blanket with my husband and kitten, while watching a movie. Since I get done with teaching earlier in the day, I have the opportunity to relax at night and stay in like I prefer to. Hermit much! Yes, I am.
A Day In The Life of Being A Teacher for VIPKID
I wake up early in the morning (4:30 am because I’m in the Central Time Zone in America) and make myself a cup of tea. Then I go into my little classroom and start the computer up and get onto the online classroom.
The class runs for a period of 25-28 minutes. After the classes are done, I leave feedback for the students and send cards to my new and returning students to encourage them.
By the time 7am rolls around, I’m done with work and have the rest of the day to work on other things like: cleaning, writing, running errands, reading, and more.
Every year, I choose a word that I’m going to strive for in the NEW year! Last year my word was Elevate. 2018 was a wonderful year, but I know that 2019 is going to be more dazzling and brilliant!
So for 2019, my word is: Free.
Two years ago, I worked at a company where they gave all their employees a copy of One Word – that will change your life. Which, I honestly thought was the best thing a company could do. I love this book so much, that I read it every year in December/January to help me think through what all I went through the prior year, what goals and dreams I have for the NEW year, and how to improve myself from the year before.
I know that someday when I hire employees, I will purchase this book for them as well!
There are six quadrants where your ONE WORD, will help you succeed in life. Here are those areas:
So I sat down in between the classes I taught and wrote down these six categories on a sheet of legal paper.
This is what I came up with
This year I really want to pump up my spiritual life more. I’ve already started meditating more. But this year, I really want to focus on reading my Bible and praying daily.
I’d also really love for Johan and I to find a home church and a weekly Bible study. We’ve been on the hunt this year, but it’s been hard to find one because we travel a lot and are out of town on the weekends sometimes.
I just recently finished reading God Speaks Your Love Language: How to Experience and Express God’s Love. And it was awesome. Then again I’ve always loved The 5 Love Languages book which is also by Gary Chapman.
Parental Love Is A Reflection Of Divine Love
It’s definitely enjoyable how he wrote this book. He mentions how some people feel loved by God and how others feel completely alone and like God doesn’t hear them or love them.
But this all goes back to the 5 Love Languages though, doesn’t it? Because we don’t all show or feel loved the same way. We are all unique human beings that were created with unique personalities. One person might feel loved when they are given love notes, like me… and some may feel loved when they get and give gifts. Which is great too. They are both different, yet they are a huge way of showing love.
As you all know, I’m trying to read more. Since I didn’t finish all the books I wanted to in November, I am finishing up the books I started then. January, I’m planning to finish the books allotted for the month!
Ways To Build Your Wealth
I absolutely loved Dani’s book “First Steps To Wealth!” Dani started out as a homeless waitress, but is now a self-made millionaire! I like how she described her journey. She’s so uplifting. I want to lift others up too.
Live unlike others now, so you can live unlike them later. Dave Ramsey is well known for saying this too. Dani also chatted about this in the book.
Something I really loved that she talked about, that I’d never actually thought of, is thinking of your pantry and all the items in it like money. I’d actually never thought of that which is amazing I’d never thought of it.
So what did I do a couple days later?
Yup, I started sorting out my pantry. And making piles and boxes of things to throw, keep, and move.
Which honestly felt so good. I went through the whole pantry and made a list of every item I had. I’m going to see how long it will all last us. We decided we aren’t going to buy anymore food, except milk and meat when we run out to have with the food in the pantry.
Another thing Dani mentioned was selling the things you no longer need or want. Over the years we pile up items and things that we don’t ever use and we just store them in our houses, closets, and garages. And it’s just a huge pile up of things we don’t actually need. And when you think of it, all those items used to be $$ in your pocket and in your bank.
If you are interested in building your wealth and finding new ways to save your money, then you’d enjoy this book. I recommend it to everyone and anyone!
Elise and I went to college together at Minnesota State University of Moorhead and had the same English classes. She has published a couple children’s books and also did her own illustrations for them. I am super proud of her
Who’s your mascot for life? If you had to choose a character or animal, what would it be? And why?
I have tried to answer this question multiple times, and I cannot think of a clever answer. So I am going to say a sheep, because they are not very clever.
What’s a day in the life of Elise?
Currently I’m up and at ‘em by 6:30 feeding my starving 10-month-old. I eat a nutritious bowl of generic honey nut cheerios and my toddler joins the party between 7 and 8. If we have a sitter that morning, I get a few precious hours to work on stories, sketches, and email…always e-mail. If we don’t have a sitter, I get the baby down by 9:30 and then the toddler and I read books, play, do housework, and/or run errands. My husband always gets to join us for dinner, so that’s my mid-day dose of adult interaction. After that, there’s a special little window when both children are napping, and I’m able to get a bit more work done. We try to take time in the late afternoon and early evening to be together as a family, and since our kids have early bedtimes, I can usually work a bit more after that if needed. Of course a house with tiny children is a house in constant flux, so this schedule probably won’t apply in six months! Ha!
What was your dream when you were a child? What did you want to be as an adult?
When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up and be a turtle. But once I learned that wouldn’t pan out, I decided I’d be a ballerina. But for me, that was about as attainable as becoming a turtle. So finally, as a kid, I set my sights on being a piano player, and fortunately, in 1994 my mom signed me up for weekly piano lessons. Dream: achieved! I honestly didn’t plan on writing or illustrating until after high school, so I guess you could say that’s what I wanted to be as an adult.
How’d you get the idea of Magnolia’s stories?
All different ways! The first one was the result of an illustration I made to beef up my portfolio. I wanted to depict an adult, children, and an animal in a familiar-to-kids setting. The result was a little girl, an alligator, and an annoyed teacher with a paper airplane in her hair. The piano/beach story was inspired by my niece who wanted to bring all of her toys to the beach with her. Once I turned that pile of toys into a giant upright piano the story took off from there. I wrote the circus/library story and pirate/Santa story with the settings already in mind. I simply had to come up with something that would really mess up a library and a trip to meet Santa Claus!
Fortunately, my readers are continually giving me new ideas for books – the hilarious combinations are endless! – so I doubt I’ll ever run out of possible Magnolia adventures. How has your publishing/ writing/ illustration journey been? It’s been more than I ever imagined it would be. More rewarding, more work, more wonderful than I had anticipated. I have met so many interesting, kind, and hard-working people – most of them teachers and librarians, but also bookstore employees, students, fellow-creatives, and publishing pros. I’m continually grateful for the support I’ve received these past 5-7 years, and I know without it, my stories would just be scribblings on a yellow legal pad.
How’d you find your agent?
I did what most people do: I looked at agencies online that represented children’s authors and illustrators. I found several with clients that made books that sort of matched my sensibility and style, and I began researching individual agents at those agencies. I only submitted my work to agents that I felt were a good match, and who were accepting my sort of submission. It’s not terribly easy to figure that out, but most agents have done interviews or been guests on podcasts, and many are on social media so you can often learn a lot about an agent just by googling, and looking at authors and illustrators they already represent.
What are some industry secrets that you’d pass on to someone who wants to be a children’s book author and/or illustrator?
Ooo, yes. Lean in. I will share all the secrets. A little closer. There you go. 1. Read childrens’ books. I mean it. Get over to your library or local bookstore and read. 2. Make time to make books. If you’re hoping that free time will just ring your doorbell and invite itself in to your day, you’re dreaming. I really recommend putting your writing and/or illustrating time on the calendar. Even if it’s two hours a week, make those two hours a priority and don’t let other things crowd it out. 3. Critique with other authors/illustrators. You’ve got to share your work to improve it, and sharing it with your mom or spouse doesn’t count. You need to regularly show your stories to fellow creatives and actively critique one another’s work. 4. Join SCBWI and get involved with your local chapter. This is where you’ll find those critique partners, create a network within the children’s industry, and receive continuing education and inspiration at conferences and workshops. Those are my secrets. Can I stop whispering now?
What’s your favorite thing about being a children’s book author and illustrator?
Do I have to pick just one favorite? No? Oh good, because I have two. 1) I love doing school visits! It honestly feels like a book is truly finished when it is read to a child. At school visits I get to share my work with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of children at once. I get to observe their reactions and hear their questions and we have so much fun! It’s great fuel for the next project. 2) I really love that I can do this job wherever I am, as long as I have electricity and the internet. The flexibility allows me to live in South Dakota (where children’s book creator sightings are very rare!) and be at home with my kids. It’s a gift that I don’t take for granted!
I’ve been aiming to read more, because I want to learn more, improve my life and home, as well as write more. Because writers need to read in order to write, right?
At the beginning of November I chose 4 books to read in November. Cozy Minimalist Home was one of them. I want to create a relaxing and cozy atmosphere with my home so that it can serve my husband, Loki, and I. As well as people who come to visit.
I never saw myself as a minimalist and never liked the cold feeling I felt the minimalist style gave off. I think it was too modern for my taste, but when I saw the Cozy Minimalist Home and how comfy all the pictures were, I found myself yearning for that coziness in our home. That clean, cozy, and relaxing atmosphere.
I definitely recommend the Cozy Minimalist Home to anyone who wants to decorate their home with more style and less stuff. I saw a quote by someone once that said “Look around the room you are in. All that stuff, used to be money.” Take a moment to let that sink in. As a society, we definitely have too much stuff!
It’s hard to believe that we can accumulate so much stuff over time. When I lived in Australia in 2012 (I lived there for the full year and arrived there with two large suitcases and a carry on.) I’d collected many more things than I’d come with. And I had to figure out where it would go and how to get rid of the stuff I didn’t want to bring back with me.
I’ll be sharing before and after pictures when I finish with decorating our place in a cozy minimalist style.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?
There’s just something amazing about shopping online from the comfort of home, in your PJs and fuzzy stockings. Not to mention how nice it is, to not have to wait in line for hours to get into the stores. I much rather prefer to stay alive and in the comfort of my home with a cuppa hot apple cider and my snuggly kitty than try stay clear of those crazy Black Friday Walmart shoppers with the shopping carts they aren’t afraid to run into you. Those ones can be so dangerous.
So I thought I’d put together a list of some of my favorite things online, that you might also love.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to stay home snuggle this cutie pie, rather than being in a gigantic crowd of people all day? Me for sure!
Shop From The Comfort Of Your PJs With A Cuppa Hot Apple Cider
I’ve put these items into different categories, but all of these items are items I love and use. Happy Shopping!
There are just a few things in life that add a little bit of spark to your adventure called life. Here are some of those items for me.
I got one of these and absolutely love it. It’s filled with my earrings, necklaces, and more. It’s a unique version of the original jewelry holder. I love that it feels like a piece of art with all the various colors of my jewelry on it.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve found if you don’t invest time in yourself to pour encouraging words into your mind from inspiring and educational books. It’s called a mindfeed. If you want to do great things, it’s going to be important that you create a list of great books and start reading them.
Podcasts are also a part of my mindfeed. It’s so important to listen to the things that people have learned about before you so you don’t make the same mistakes, or fall behind, or get worn out. I’ve decided I need to take it more seriously about how many books I’m consuming. It’s rather pathetic how many I’ve been reading as of late.
I read the singles edition when I was in college, healing from a bad relationship I’d been in. If you find yourself at that kind of a crossroad that book is so great! It helps you look into yourself deeper to marinate.
So I’m even more excited to read this book, because I know God speaks our love languages, because he made us. And he’s perfect. So this’ll be great.
I’m currently reading through this book and absolutely adore it.
Lately, I’ve been trying to get more organized and I really want to create a restful and cozy environment in our home. I’ve always felt like the queen of organized chaos.
I never really found myself feeling like a minimalist. The idea interested me, but it just felt too sterol and doctor’s office-like. Nothing against that style, but that type of minimalism isn’t for me.
In this book, she talks about being a cozy minimalist and being driven by comfort when it comes to design in your house. I’m so happy I got this book. I’ve really been enjoying it and definitely recommend it to anyone. I can honestly tell you, if you feel the same as me you are absolutely going to LOVE the Cozy Minimalist.
Have you ever worried that your long-distance relationship won’t work out? And have people ever made you feel like it wasn’t possible?
There were a few times in my life when people made me feel like I was a lunatic for believing in love across the sea.
I don’t really know why people do this to couples in long-distance relationships. I am here today as proof that long-distance relationships work. My husband and I were in a relationship across the distance for 5 and a half years. We are happily together and in the same country. And we are no longer separated by the ocean. We made it work.
It’s possible for you too. If you are in a long-distance relationship or know someone who is, here are the ABCs to making a long-distance relationship work for you.
The Ultimate A-Z List On Making Your Long-Distance Relationship Work
A. is for Attitude –
A lot of thriving in long-distance relationships comes down to your attitude. How you speak to your loved one and also how you speak about your partner.
How to keep a good attitude:
Every day in a long-distance relationship it’s vital to stay positive with a good attitude. I’d try to look for the positive in the moment that I found myself in. Enjoy the moment you are in—here and now. You only have this day!
B. is for Believe –
You need to believe in your relationship and what you both are working for. There are plenty of people who will try to make you feel like what you are fighting for isn’t worth it. Believe in yourself and your relationship. Know that for certain.
How to believe:
Once I met a person and she asked me why my boyfriend was in Australia. I kindly responded with, “He is finishing up school there.”
“Oh, was he just studying there?”
“No, he actually lives there.” I responded.
“Ohh….” She said, opening her eyes wide. A judge-y look drifted across her face as she said, “Thank goodness my daughter didn’t fall in love with someone when she went abroad.”