Sometimes Slowing Down is Key

The past few weeks have been quite an eye-opening experience for me. I have listened to quite a few podcasts and read some books and had previously come away with the understanding that if you want something, you have to put the pedal to the metal and make it happen. This was my current mindset for my boutique, “The Rustic Pony”. I was trying to do all the things that I could do, to make it grow as fast as possible.

Sometimes that mindset and growth aspect isn’t possible. Yes, you want to try your hardest to make your business successful or do your best at work to get promoted. However, there is a line that you have to be weary of. You can’t push so hard for something that it interferes with your personal finances. You can push and push all you can, but if your business isn’t producing the income to supplement that push, then maybe you need to take a step back and slow down.

I was trying so hard to make something work, I was traveling to all the big shows and telling myself that, oh I will pay myself back after the show. That is all great and dandy until your show doesn’t produce the income you need to not only cover the costs, but to pay yourself back as well. While I know most are smarter when it comes to decisions like this, it happened before I realized it was happening.

I want to let you know that it is okay to start out slow, it is okay to grow at a rate where you feel comfortable, and your business can afford the moves you are wanting to make. It is okay that it may take longer than you hoped. Do not compare your journey with anyone else’s. Your journey is yours alone.

I am so grateful that I got smacked in the face the last couple of weeks. It has sent me back to the drawing board and actually given me a breath of fresh air, a new hope of the future to come, and the ability to slow down and do things the right way. There is room for everyone at the top, slow down, truly enjoy the journey and you will be there before you know it.

The Rustic Pony is still traveling some, so be on the lookout as we will be hitting up some more local shows! Interested in what The Rustic Pony is? Check us out here – http://www.therusticpony.com

When Doubt Hits… Know YOU are Worth it!

Do you ever find yourself wondering why you keep pushing for more? Why you keep going above and beyond because it doesn’t seem like it is going anywhere? If all the time you are investing into something is really worth it?

This past week, I was having some heavy doubt. I was getting ready for a Rustic Pony Show. As I was loading up the trailer, the first thought came into my head, is this really worth it? I was able to combat that negative thought and the next day went to work before I left for the show. That day was TOUGH. My debit card number got hacked, it was the day before a Holiday weekend. I had to cancel my card, drive over four hours away to a show with only the cash in my wallet…which wasn’t much.

That whole day, I spent thinking is this worth it? Is all this time away from my family worth it? Is all this money I have invested into this dream of mine worth it? How long do I pursue this before I just give up? Am I even making any progress? Is this the thing I am supposed to actually be doing?

Let me tell you, once I go down a rabbit hole. I go down a rabbit hole. So there I was Friday feeling sorry for myself, sales weren’t going very good either so it only intensified my feelings. I finally reached out to my go-to pal. They laid it out in the simplest terms. You are trying to better yourself, of course it’s worth it.

Let me expand on that just a little bit. If trying to better your life and your family’s life was easy, everyone would do it. It is hard and takes hard work. It takes failing, it takes losing, and it takes grit. It takes waking up each morning and doing something to get towards your goals. It will take hard work, tears, pushing beyond your limits, and possibly more tears. But guess what? It is worth it. Your dreams are worth it, your family is worth it. YOU are worth it.

When that doubt comes around, just push through and remember that everything you are working for is worth it.  

Just one way to handle those negative emotions

Last blog, I touched on how hard this year has been for me mentally. As I was driving last week, I really felt the need to unpack that a little more in hopes that something I am actively going through may help someone else. The past year and a half I have been on this growth mission, becoming a better version of myself, becoming the person I am meant to be. For the past six months, the mental challenge has been the hardest.

No matter how fast you are growing, stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new things, taking on new challenges, your mental state of mind must grow too. I realized these past few months how hard it is to overcome things mentally. When you have been in the negative space for so long, it is really a challenge every day to stay in the positive state.

I am fortunate to have some solid people in my life. They are supportive, they encourage me, they are right there with me on all the crazy wild ideas I have….but they also bring me back to Earth when I need it. They let me know when I need to stop and think, they let me know that I am not always right about everything, and most importantly they let me know all this in a nice kind manner. However, there are a lot of times when something doesn’t go the way I think it should. Negative emotions and thoughts immediately enter my mind. The first thing I think, they don’t like me anymore. They aren’t going to be there anymore; they don’t want to deal with me anymore.

Never once have my people even hinted at this happening, but after years and years of a negative mindset and mental abuse, these thoughts are my first initial reactions. How do you overcome that? All I can tell you is that every day is a new day to overcome the negative mindset. When those bad boys pop into my head, I literally put them in a box and say to myself, “this isn’t true, my people love me”, and push the thought out of my head. I then begin to focus my mind on the next task at hand. Will I ever be able to kick the old habit of negative thoughts? Only time will tell.

I just wanted you to know that if you are struggling mentally, you are not alone. Don’t give up though, keep tackling every day as a new day and you will be amazed at the wonderful things that come your way.

Share some love, we could all use a little more love

XOXOXO

Casey

Sometimes Saying “Yes” Isn’t the Answer

The last few months have seemed like a wild ride. How is it already almost July and where has the time gone? This year has been a mentally challenging one for me. There have been times that I have been on top of the mountain and there have been times when I could barely get out of bed. There have been times when I have been winning at all the things except for the things that matter. When the relationships with people that matter are not on point, then my world gets rocked regardless of whatever else is happening. This has helped me reflect and realize what is most important in my life as well, my people.

I just finished reading this book – “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” and I found it very fascinating. It is very intriguing that we as humans tend to say “Yes” to all the things in hopes that it gets us to where we are going faster, only quite a bit of the time that isn’t the case. When you spend all your energy completing all the tasks on all the things, you make very small moves. If you spend all your energy completing just a few tasks on the right path, you make big moves.

My biggest takeaway from the book was, when an opportunity presents itself, if you don’t immediately say “Heck Yesssss! Let’s do this thing” then you should probably say no. But before you can do that, you need to make sure you have a clear vision on what your future/path looks like. You have to make sure that the opportunities you say “Yes” to align with the ultimate goal. Because if you aren’t shooting for the ultimate almost unattainable goal, then what are you aiming for?

All that being said, we all know that in some cases we have to do things we don’t want to do because well, that is how we survive and get a paycheck. My challenge to you though is to start pursuing things you enjoy. Start trying new hobbies, start exploring those options. Find what makes you happy, clarify your vision, and do whatever it takes (legally) to make all those dreams come true. The journey is the best part. That is where you learn, grow and become the person you were made to be.

While this first half of the year has had its up and downs, the growth I have done as a person out does all the hard days of barely getting out of bed. I have finally come to understand that I have barely scratched the surface on what I am capable of, and I cannot wait to see what happens the rest of the year. It is never too late to hit the re-start button. You got this. Go be amazing!

In Order to Grow, You First Have to see Value in Yourself

For me, I love learning. I find many different things fascinating and want to learn as much as I can about them. My current obsession is self-growth. I have grown so much the last year but feel like I have so far to go. I am constantly trying to think of ways to stretch my comfort zone. 

I began reading John Maxwell’s – The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth – I made it to Chapter 3 and I was blown away and I had to share it with y’all!

Chapter 3 – The Law of the Mirror – You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself

The chapter goes on to discuss the power of positive self-esteem and that low self-esteem puts a ceiling on your potential. The value we place on ourselves is usually the value others place on us. For someone who has struggled with self-esteem issues and has always wondered why certain people, things, and places were attracted to me or that I attracted, reading that sentence, a light bulb went off. You can’t expect people to think highly of you, if you don’t even think highly of yourself first. This goes back to self-love, you have to love yourself first before you can ever truly love someone else.

So what is the next step? You realize you need to work on your self-esteem but how? The chapter continues with Steps to Build Your Self Image

1. Guard Your Self-Talk

Do you encourage yourself or criticize yourself? Are you a positive person or a negative person? These things are important and matter, remember to pay attention to the language you are using on yourself. Many of us say destructive things to ourselves that we would never say to another person we cared about.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

You can’t look at your journey and compare it to someone else’s success. Right now, this is one of the hardest things I am dealing with. Want to know why I am not as present on social media anymore? This is why. The nonstop scrolling looking at other people’s highlight reel, brings all kind of negative juju into my life, so I stopped scrolling.

3. Move Beyond Your Limiting Beliefs

For some reason, we as humans tend to believe we can’t accomplish certain things. If you constantly tell yourself that you won’t achieve that thing, then you never will. I catch myself sometimes wondering if I will ever really achieve my dreams. When that happens, I stop and pause and sit in the moment and think about how I will feel when my dreams do come true. ALWAYS believe you can achieve something, just know you may have to work a little harder for it to happen.

4. Add Value to Others

It is really hard to feel bad about yourself when you are adding value to other people’s lives. You never know how one tiny contribution from you can change someone’s perspective.

5. Do The Right Thing, Even if it’s Hard

Always do the right thing, even if that means you are in trouble. Being true to yourself and your values is a huge self-esteem booster.

There are five more tips but I don’t want to spoil the whole chapter for you! If you are interested in the additional five tips, just send me a message or comment and I will be happy to get those for you. At the end of the chapter, he asks you to reflect and do some “homework”. 

Make a list of all your best personal qualities. This might be a struggle but don’t stop. If it takes you a while, that is okay too but don’t stop until you have written 100 positive things about yourself. Yes, you read that right, 100! I am currently working on this challenge myself and I challenge you to do the same thing. You got this!

As always share some love, we could all use a little more love

XOXO

Casey

Sometimes A Little Help is All You Need

We all need help at some point in our lives, whether that be financial help, moving help, fixing appliances help, and the list goes on. I think sometimes we don’t like to admit that we need help.

This blog will probably be a little touchy for some but I want to break the mold around therapy. For the past 4 years or so I have gone to therapy off and on, sometimes weekly appointments were needed other times it was whenever I felt it was needed. I think one of the harder things about therapy is finding the right therapist and you being ready to to talk. When the two align, it is a beautiful thing. There is something uplifting about being able to sit and talk to someone about what is going on in your mind without repercussions or worrying if they are going to tell your dear secret.

For most people, when we want to vent about anything, we tend to vent to our friends. While this can be okay for some things, sometimes our venting can put our friends in uncomfortable situations. It can cause rifts in your friendships. It can even leave your friends judging other people without potentially knowing the whole story to things. Do your people a favor and leave them out of the venting, go talk to a therapist/counselor instead.

For me, therapy has always been a way of me trying to understand something or potentially understanding someone else’s point of you. When you have an unbiased person talking to you about different examples or a potential point of view about why something is happening, you tend to listen better. Recently, I have become very interested in learning more about why I react the way I do, or why I get overly emotional at the drop of a hat. The human brain is a very intriguing thing and learning how I can show up better in my relationships is always a beautiful thing.

If you have never thought about therapy before, you should let the thought cross your mind. If you have a thought about it but never taken action, try it. It may take a couple therapist to find “the one” but I can promise you it’s worth it.

As always share some love, we could all use a little more love.

XOXO

Casey

More Conversations and Less Confrontations

This is not intended to be a political blog but I am sure it will be looked at that way. I have been watching these last few months, the posts on social media, the media on television, and even the radio stations, all bashing each side over and over again. The thing that I find so concerning in all of this is that there is no talking to one another to actually discover what the differences are. People don’t sit down and have conversations anymore.

What happened to understanding each other? What happened to agreeing to disagree? What happened to having your own viewpoint and yet still being able to get along with other people in the world who don’t have the same viewpoint as you?

I tend to lean to social media/ the internet as some of the cause of this. People get online and post their opinions, which this is perfectly fine. However, when people comment with a difference of opinion, there is no discussion. It goes straight to a full blown drawn out argument or simply getting blocked. I do believe that reading a text is completely different than hearing someone say the exact words to you. Unless you know the person, you have no idea how that “text” is coming across and I would say 9 out of 10 times, that “text” gets misconstrued in the negative way. I also believe that social media/ the internet have made having an actual face to face conversation a lot harder. It is so much easier to be absorbed online and not get out and meet people.

I do want to say that there will probably always be people that are intentionally mean online. That is just some people’s nature, that doesn’t mean you need to reciprocate their behavior. Next time someone comments on your post, how about you ask for an explanation or simply say why do you feel that way? Before you share that post, how about you make sure the information is accurate before you spread it. Before you start bad mouthing the other party and judging people who you don’t even know, how about you take the time to sit down and do the research and come up with your own answers, for your own opinion, don’t let the media just feed you information.

This country needs more love right now than ever before. We need to love our neighbors regardless of how we feel about them. We need to do as much good as possible. Why spend your days on Earth hating and fighting each other? The more negativity you have in your life and mindset, the more problems you are attracting to yourself. My friends, it is okay to disagree with someone and still have them as your friend, family, and neighbor. It is okay to disagree with someone and still show them kindness. We were all made uniquely, we all have different opinions on many things. Don’t let those differences cost you friends and family.

As always share some love, we could all use a little more love.

XOXO

Casey

Just Cooking My Way Through 2021

We are into the third week of 2021. Who is still working towards their New Year’s Resolution? In our household, there has been a big push towards low-carb eating. I started the year out with no Dr. Pepper for 30 days, I will admit, I had a little slip one day but have been going strong since then. With the low-carb eating going on in our house, I figured I would join in on the fun too.

One thing that I want to do for myself this year, is to enhance my cooking skills. Since, like many Americans, we are trying to eat better this time of year, I figured why not step up my cooking skills in the process.

Boneless Pork Chops in Creamy Garlic Spinach Sauce – (Minus the Spinach) – My first cooked meal of the New Year and I have to say, I was amazed! I was so impressed with myself and it has definitely given me the confidence to keep cooking, even though I may be a little slower than the expert cooker in our house.

Boneless Pork Chops in Creamy Garlic Sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 pork chops, boneless – We got the thinner boneless pork chops and actually cooked around 9. 6 went in the sauce and we had some plain ones for leftovers. You will see in the original recipe it calls for 3.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil – I didn’t measure this, just did a little shake of the wrist to get it across the pan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced – I used a Garlic Press for this
  • 1 small yellow onion – minced
  • 1/3  cup chicken stock
  • 1 ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – I didn’t measure this, just a shake across the pan
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes – I didn’t measure this, just a couple shakes throughout the pan
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese – it calls for grated, I just used the kind you would put on your pizza

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season your pork chops with paprika, salt, and pepper on both sides. Place in the pan and cook until your liking. Mine came out golden brown. If you are the temping type, they need to at least be 145 degrees internally. Take them out of the pan and set them aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the same pan. Add garlic, onion, Italian Seasoning, and red crushed chili pepper and stir-fry about a minute or so. When my onions started browning, I added the chicken stock.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy whipping cream. Bring the creamy sauce to a gentle simmer. Depending on how thick you want you sauce this could take a few minutes. We like it a little thicker, so I let it simmer and stirred occasionally.
  4. Stir in the Parmesan Cheese and allow sauce to continue to simmer and wait until the cheese is melted. I kept stirring occasionally at this point as well.
  5. Put the pork chops back into the pan to reheat. I covered the pork chops with the sauce and served.

For our side we had Bacon Wrapped Asparagus –

  • Set your oven to 400 Degrees
  • Get out a cookie sheet and cover it with foil
  • Snap your Asparagus – simply bend in half and let them snap naturally
  • Put them into a bowl. Add olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients until your asparagus appear seasoned
  • Take out your bacon, either cut it in half or tear it in half
  • Wrap each asparagus with half a piece of bacon, placing them on the cooking sheet
  • Place in oven and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them. I placed mine in the oven right before I started cooking the pork chops and they were ready when the meal was ready

Tips

  1. You probably only need half an onion and make sure to chop it extra small.
  2. Season to how you like it, sometimes more is better

If you are interested in the original recipe you can check it out here – https://www.eatwell101.com/boneless-pork-chops-in-creamy-garlic-butter-sauce

P.S. Their pictures are a lot prettier than mine. Don’t worry I plan to step it up on the photography side next time.

I hope this brings you as much comfort as it did me.

As always share some love, we could all use a little more love.

XOXOXO

Casey

The Power of Introverts

For most of my childhood, I seemed like an outgoing person. I was always involved in some kind of sports activity, normally multiple at one time. I also played the piano and was an avid reader. I have always loved to write as well. The older I got, the more competitive I got in sports. I was a fairly smart kid, never really having to study extra hard after school unless it came to Math. I also grew a passion for photography. Did I mention that I was the starting pitcher for our high school softball team when I was a freshman?

After high school and into College (which would turn into long drawn out years of College at all different ages experience) I was a bartender at a restaurant, who went out all the time, who was surrounded by her friends all the time, whose creative side (reading, writing, and photography) seemed to die.

I tell you all these things because I have recently come to learn that I am actually an introverted person. I enjoy my quiet time. I enjoy my alone time, I love reading. I love writing and being in my head, I have so many thoughts that sometimes I have to get them down on paper or else I won’t stop thinking about them. I find this very fascinating as I look back on my younger years and see some of the same qualities but at times almost the opposite of how I am now.

I recently read – “Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop talking.” – By Susan Cain. This book blew my mind and explained a lot of questions that I had. That even being an introvert, if you have a true passion about something you will display extrovert qualities because you are doing the thing you love. That your environment can play a part in displaying different qualities as well. For so long, I felt different than some people. I know a lot of people but I have a select few really good friends and honestly, I have those friends still because THEY reach out and communicate with me. I am happy being able to read a book all day yet I long for companionship without any expectations. Me, ten years ago would have been out multiple times a week. Me now, dreads even thinking about going to the grocery store, but yet, I can stand and work a booth for multiple days at a time selling some of my favorite shirts.

If you have ever been a little bit curious about the introvert/extrovert relationship you should definitely pick us this book. There is advice for introverts on how to learn how to be more vocal. There is advice for extroverts on how to maybe listen a little bit longer. There is advice for people in relationships who are introverts/extroverts. Did you know that a disagreement may turn into a huge fight because you don’t understand the personality of your partner? Imagine how happier homes could potentially be if we actually understood how the other processed information. Have a child that has a different personality than you? This book will help with that too. Even if you don’t have a close relationship or a child, reading the book will definitely help put a different perspective on the people you work with. Imagine the greatness that could arise if we all understood each other a little better.

As always share some love, we could all use a little more love

XOXO

Casey

How to Make 2021 the Best Year Yet

It is crazy how much one person can change your life. How a child can be born and your whole life turn around. How everything that you thought was important no longer seems relevant. How, as she grows she pushes you to want more and do better for you and her. On this day 9 years ago, I was blessed with a little girl that would change my life. She rocked my world from the moment she entered. 

Not only has she changed my life and motivated me to want more, she has taught me so much along the way. Her love for animals is something out of this world. Her compassion and grace is something that brings me to my knees. Her innocence and love for all things reminds me of the good in this world. Her youthfulness reminds me of the little girl in me, the dreamer in all of us. 

As the New Year approaches think back on this past year. 2020 was not the best year for many, in fact probably for the majority it was really hard. However, there are lesson learned in everything that we do. 

Instead of being angry about how things are not working out for you, let’s work on being grateful for the things that have gone right for us. Celebrate every win, no matter how small. Be grateful for everything, big and small. The more gratitude that is shown, the more you realize how blessed in life you truly are. Remember, it’s the little things that matter. 

Show kindness to everyone regardless of how you really feel about them. Imagine how the world would be if we just showed kindness to everyone. You never know what someone else is going through or dealing with, show them kindness. You might be surprised about how much better you feel about yourself when you do. 

Do more of what brings you joy. Find out what makes your heart go pitter patter and do more of that. It doesn’t have to make you money, it doesn’t have to be done for someone else. It is all about what makes you happy. You being happy and so full of love for yourself should be your main concern. How can you possibly take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of you.

As we embark on another year, I challenge you to make this coming up year the best year of your life. I plan on making it the best year of my life. 

Whatever you do, share some more love, we could all use a little more love. 

XOXO

Casey