This blog kind of sucks right now.  No pictures, the colors aren’t really what I want, but what matters is the content, right?  Yeah, that could use some work too.

But, I’m excited because I’m learning something new!  Thesis 2.0 and I am in love.

I’m in love because anything new and challenging is fun for me (that might also explain why I start things and then later stop when the initial wave of newness is over).  When people start reading it, my excitement might wane and turn to anxiety, but right now I’m still young and naive.

Anyway, back to Thesis 2.0.  I have been known to browse WordPress Themes for hours trying to find just the right one.  My first ever encounter with WordPress and Themes was the Mr. Money Mustache blog and while I’ve grown to love the look and feel of the site, it has been criticized by some as being amateurish in design and even ugly (gasp!).  Well, we’re still new at this blogging thing and still learning.  What I’ve learned is that I want to have control over everything in a theme without having to get bogged down in all that PHP code.  While I’ve learned how to tweak things in the code, it’s still not a great way to customize a theme.  That’s when I found Thesis.

Many bloggers use Thesis and rave about it, but with my aversion for buying things that cost more than $40, I found it difficult to pay the hefty $87 price tag.  As the MMM blog started making a bit more money, it made sense to at least try it out.  After all, they have a 30-day money back guarantee.

By the time I got around to actually buying Thesis, it had become Thesis 2.0.  Many people whined that it was extremely difficult to upgrade their existing Thesis site to Thesis 2.0.  They also complained that it was totally different, but so was the iPhone, right?  Maybe Thesis 2.0 is simply revolutionary.  I think the Thesis folks are on to something pretty awesome here, so I plunged right in and started playing around with the Thesis controls.  After about an hour, I realized I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.  So, I naturally turned to the Internet and found 2 great (free!) tutorials for Thesis 2.0 that I’d like to share with all you budding bloggers out there.

Tutorial 1 – Build Your Own Business

The first set of Tutorials I found were on the Build Your Own Business Website.  There are 10 parts to this free tutorial starting here:

These videos give a great introduction to Thesis 2.0 and how to customize the Thesis Classic Skin.  I went through every single video and was able to get my test site looking pretty good.   But, somehow I still didn’t really understand what was going on.  The reason is that when using the Classic Skin, much of the framework is already built in, so you don’t get to see how those parts are built.

Tutorial 2 – Thesis Video Tutorials

That’s when I turned to this second great set of Tutorials by Amelia at Thesis Video Tutorials.  After going through nearly the entire Tutorial, I started to think of Amelia as an old friend.  She has a very extensive set of free videos that starts from a Blank Thesis theme.  As she mentions, she thinks this is the best way to learn about Thesis 2.0 and she’s right.  Her videos are here:

Both sets of Tutorials take a blank site and convert it into a nice looking site.  Each step is explained carefully (particularly in Amelia’s tutorials) and you always know what the end product that you’re striving for looks like.

Now I’m armed with all this knowledge, but I’m still a bit paralyzed with this blog.  Part of my issue is that I’m not a graphic designer, so anything needing images will have to be made by me and will likely be mediocre.  I have a do-it-yourself and learn-it-yourself mentality, which serves me well in the long run, but causes me to be a bit slow going at the beginning.

For now, I just wanted to pass on these great resources.  My blogging future with Thesis is starting to look a little brighter.


Video Sunday: Abbracci Gratis

in Blog, Video Sunday

A random act of kindness can boost your entire day.


Reveling in Negativity

in Blog, Life

It’s a magic carpet on a rail…

Shortly before our son turned three, we took him on the Polar Express train ride in Williams, Arizona.  Upon boarding the train, we took our seats opposite a family all dressed in the exact same red Christmas pajamas:  mom, dad, and 3 little blonde children.  The kids were all wide-eyed with excitement and the mom was particularly enthusiastic.  She was so enthusiastic that I sat there fascinated at this super-mom, as she excitedly talked to her kids about the train ride and Santa’s impending arrival.  My mind started instantly criticizing her: Is she always this happy? Is she putting on a show for the rest of the train passengers?  What does her husband think about making them all wear matching PJs?  She’s probably not normally such an awesome and enthusiastic mom… how can she be so happy?

The entire scene seemed odd to me, like it was from a movie.  The mom seemed fake.  How could she be that happy with three kids?  I mean, kids are hard work and she has three!  Was she always like this?  The only answer I could come up with in my mind is that she must be faking it.

Now, several years later, as I read negative comments about the MMM blog and listen to many wise and wonderful men and women complaining to each other on a regular basis, I realize what I was doing on that train ride.  I was unhappy with my own situation and therefore reasoned that the woman on the train must be a fake.  I was also participating, albeit in my own mind, in a seemingly common problem in our culture: Reveling in Negativity.

At the time, I was going through a difficult time emotionally.  As a mom with an almost 3-year old, I realized that I wasn’t the mom I wanted to be.  I was not happy like this other mom.  Instead of coming to terms with this, I ended up criticizing her in my head.  It was probably some kind of natural defense mechanism.

A year later, I finally decided to confront my problem.  It took nearly a year of investigating, but I eventually found out I was gluten intolerant, which was causing my mood to be quite volatile at times.  I often felt angry for no reason, I had low energy, I woke up with morning headaches every day, and I generally had no control over many of my emotions.  Strangely this intolerance manifested itself after a traumatic event (in my case giving birth and having a c-section), as has been known to happen.  I’ve now been gluten free for over three years and feel completely different.

If I saw that same woman today, I’d like to think that I would be more positive.  I would probably still notice her and maybe even chuckle a little at the matching pajamas.  But, I would watch her and perhaps make a note to myself to be happier around my own child.  To be enthusiastic about the things he’s enthusiastic about and to see things through his eyes.  To be happy and carefree, without worrying about what onlookers will think.  I can’t be sure what I would think, but the fact that I am more confident about my own parenting makes me more open to new suggestions.

I recently read a thread about Mr. Money Mustache on a forum, I watched the comments quickly downgrade until they became downright nasty.  Even the original poster, who had posted because she loved the blog, started saying negative things about it.  I realized that being in agreement is often very important to people.  It’s hard to be the odd one out while everyone else is nodding.  Being united and feeling sympathy for each other is important in our culture.  Everyone wants to be accepted.

So how do we overcome this and start thinking more positively about our own situations and about life in general?  How do we stop venting and start problem solving?  I guess the answer is to look at yourself and your situation with a new perspective.  Don’t make assumptions about how things should be; think about the goal and figure out how to get there.  There’s always a way, but it may take a while to find the right path.  People may even resent you as you push to get there, but don’t get caught up in their negative energy.  Seek out those that are different: the entrepreneurs, the rule-breakers, the visionaries.  Find those people and ride their wave of optimism and you’ll soon start to see the world through their eyes.



Stay Tuned…

in Blog, Blogging

Freedom still requires balance.

I’m contemplating starting a Mrs. Money Mustache site.  It’s snowing today so that makes it a little easier to sit inside and type.

This site will be different than the MMM site.  More girly, perhaps?  We probably won’t talk about money and math as much.  I’m hesitant, but also excited.

I don’t write as well as MMM.  I’m not as funny.  I’m not as extreme.  But, I am a woman, so there’s that.

Many have critiqued my writing on MMM, which made me feel blue at first, but after a while I developed a thicker skin.  You have to write for yourself and for the readers that understand you.  I love to write, so it’s worth a shot.  Luckily, many have asked to hear more from my perspective.  I really appreciate that and I want to contribute more, but guest posting on Mr. Money Mustache doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.  My audience is probably very different.

So, in a fit of excitement, I purchased and here I am.  I have a lot to say, but I am also feeling cautious.  Cautiously Optimistic.  I want to think carefully before I write.  I’m the type to blurt things out and just say what’s on my mind.  I want to be able to accurately share what it’s like to be financially independent and to talk about how my views on life have changed so dramatically since I’ve become free to do what I want.

What you see here are the bare bones.  There is more to come.  So, stay tuned if you’re interested.