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My Girl

I’m so grateful for my 13-year old Honda CRV. I remember when I first bought her. Her silver paint job shone radiantly in the sun. Since then her paint job has faded. It’s a duller gray, with a hint of luster to it still. She’s been banged up a few too many times. She’s got scratches all over her from careless keys, door dings and banging bookbags. She’s still beautiful to me. I feel much love and gratitude for her. She’s taken me to the airport to get married to my husband. She’s taken me to the airport while I was in labor with both of my children. She’s taken me home from the hospital with my newborn children crying hysterically in the backseat. Did we put the carseat in right? She took me home from work the day I quit my corporate job and followed my heart and dreams. She’s taken me to birthday parties, soccer games, girls’ nights, church, grocery shopping and the everyday events that make up our lives. I know the day will come when we’ll have to part, but I’m content and grateful for her. I don’t need a new, electric, shiny, automatic, upgraded, financed model to replace her. She’s my...

5 Reasons You Need To Be More Selfish

Although I’d rather die than return to the 1950’s, in some ways I feel it’s harder for women now. There is pressure for women to have an impressive career, be a super mom, be a perfect wife, have a rocking body and have an amazing circle of friends. Don’t forget to make it look easy. How do you do it all without having a nervous breakdown? I believe the key is to be more selfish. Most of us have grown up believing being selfish is on par with joining ISIS. The problem I’ve seen is most women instinctually put themselves last. I’ve done it myself so many times only to become a crazed, angry psychopath ready to lash out at anyone who breathes within a 1.3 mile radius of me. Hubby, beware! Here are 5 reasons you need be more selfish: 1.To Be A Better Mom As a woman, there are few things in our culture revered more than being the best mom you can be. To an unhealthy degree, moms are esteemed or shamed based on “how good” of a mom they are. I’m convinced Madison Avenue perpetuates this unachievable model of motherhood, so the next book, video or product will be the answer to the inferiority so many of us moms feel (topic for another blog post). Due to this immense pressure, we feel we have to spend most waking moments studying, reading, commiserating and perfecting the role of motherhood. Inevitably other things get sacrificed: our health (emotional, spiritual, physical, financial) and our relationships. I cannot tell you how many moms I talk to who feel guilty about asking their spouse to...

What The Bible Says About Orlando

As a blogger, I feel it would be remiss not to talk about the terrible tragedy that occurred in Orlando: the largest mass killing in US history. I remember when the Paris shootings occurred my Facebook feed was awash with posts about prayers for Paris and red, white and blue profile pictures. Yet, after Orlando happened, barely a peep. I saw posts and shares from my gay friends and conspicuously few from my straight Christian friends. I found this deeply disturbing on multiple levels. Even if people don’t agree with homosexuality, they could not possibly stay silent to such an abhorrent act? They had to have compassion and empathy for these people innocently killed or injured? But then I dug into the archives of my own Christian history. Even 15 years ago, what would I have thought? They deserve it. They were sinning it up and this is God’s justice. Or maybe… That’s what you get when you live that kind of lifestyle. Or That’s sad, but I don’t want to say anything about this on Facebook. What will people think of me? They’ll question my Christianity. Or That’s them and not me. What does the Bible say? 1.Mark 12:31 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Does it say love your straight neighbor as yourself? Does it say love your white neighbor as yourself? Does it say love your Christian neighbor as yourself? Being an Asian person, if an Asian group were attacked, how would I feel if I found only support from other Asians on social media or otherwise? How would I feel if I didn’t...

How I Survived No Screens For 24 Hours

Photo by Paul Townsend is licensed under CC BY 2.0 No, you didn’t misread the title. I went without screens for 24 hours. Why? I’m a super spiritual, monk-like, transcendant guru who wanted the discipline of no screens. NOT! I had been having some weird neurological symptoms and my naturopath was treating me for electromagnetic radiation. The stuff electronics emit. I consider myself to be less addicted than most people. Ironically, most other people probably feel the same way. And I’m definitely less addicted than my son who screams in fury when I take the iPad away. I mean 24 hours…not a big deal, right? Right. I had left my children with a babysitter while I underwent my treatment. As soon as my appointment was done, I wanted to check my phone to see if the babysitter had tried to get ahold of me. I asked the office staff to check my phone for me. I know, cheating. Before I left the appointment my husband called and I had the staff answer it. He just called to say he loved me, he just called to say how much he cared… Driving home, I realized it was my sister-in-law’s birthday and I had told her I would call her later that day. I would need to have my children call and speak via the speaker phone from a distance. This was proving difficult and it had been less than an hour. Once I put the kids down, I felt the itch. I wanted to check Facebook, email and watch dumb cat videos. I faced a horrific question: What should I do that didn’t involve...

5 Reasons A Smaller House Is Better

We recently moved from the burbs to an urban, walkable neighborhood. When asked why people would ask “Are you moving to a bigger place?” The implication was bigger was better. Most of the homes in our new neighborhood were built in the earlier 1900’s and are a lot smaller than houses in our old neighborhood. Why would I trade a larger house for a smaller one? 1. More of Less Being in a smaller home requires having less. What?!!! Not more, more, more? I’ve been overwhelmed sorting through a never ending deluge of boxes. Imagine a nightmare with boxes chasing you and not being able to escape. Scary stuff. When we got our pod, I left some of our boxes out in the driveway. I secretly wished they would be stolen. They weren’t. They stayed there for weeks untouched until Goodwill came and picked them up. How much money, time and energy had I spent on stuff I didn’t value? I find immense freedom in having less stuff to organize, manage and maintain. How much time do I spend trying to find stuff hiding behind other stuff, only to drive to Target to buy the same thing? When we left our old home I counted over 30 combs. I can’t remember the last time we used a comb. 2. More Time When you have less stuff and less space you also have less to clean. Less cleaning!!! Can I get an amen? In our old house, I can’t tell you how often we’d need to cut the grass, rake leaves, trim hedges, pull weeds, pull weeds and pull weeds....

Need A Superpower?

What if there was a product guaranteed to make you feel better, look better, be healthier, help your brain function better, improve your emotional well-being, increase your productivity and arguably improve your relationships and finances? How much would you pay for this product? What if I told you it was free? The “product” is sleep. Unless we have insomnia (which I have had), most of us have access to this superpower, but how many of us get enough of it? Recently, I was on vacation. I went to go visit my mom for a week by myself (yes, no kids). Everyday for a week, I slept a glorious 8-9 hours a day. How did I feel? Indescribably wonderful. I was astounded at how good I felt emotionally, spiritually and physically. After a week of sleeping blissfully, I returned and was rudely awakened to a lack of sleep. When I got back it was the day before my son’s birthday and party. Great planning, right? Due to a delay, I arrived home at 3:30am and woke up at 6am to get my kids off to school. I then proceeded to run around town looking for Minecraft decorations for his party. Apparently, Minecraft decorations are only available online (cue Psycho soundtrack). With 2.5 hours of sleep, how was my emotional regulation? I found myself chastising the cashier at Party City for not carrying Minecraft party supplies. Didn’t they know what a cultural phenomenon Minecraft was? How could they call themselves a legitimate business without carrying Minecraft products? With 2.5 hours of sleep, how were my decision making powers? I craved carbs and fat. I needed a breakfast sandwich desperately. Was it in the...

My Manifesto

How many people do you know whom are living out their dream? A handful? More likely 1 or 2? Why? I see too many people who are victims of their lives, rather than masters of it. They’re overwhelmed and carried along in a sea of problems, rather than pursuing the passions God has put on their hearts. There has to be more to life than waking up, rushing to work, enduring the next 8 to 10 hours, speeding the kids off to soccer practice, stressing about bills and then falling into a heap on the couch as you binge watch House of Cards; numbing the underlying frustration you feel. Everyone has a purpose buried within their heart. The longer it’s subdued, ignored and chastised the more challenging it maybe to unearth it. Yet, it’s dying to come out. If we are not living out this purpose, we will never be truly fulfilled. What stops us from pursuing this dream? Fear of failing, worry of what others will think and terror over how to pay the bills. For years, I endured corporate America for the lifestyle it afforded me, but I felt like a means to someone else’s end. Year after year, I felt like my soul was gradually shrinking away. I wanted to create a business where I empowered and served others. I wanted to be able to say “yes” when my kids asked me to play legos instead of yelling at them to grab their sports gear while running out the door. I wanted to emotionally connect with friends instead of only liking their posts on Facebook. I wanted my relationship with God and spirituality to be...

Why She Doesn’t Like You

Photo by mendhak is licensed under CC BY 2.0 This post would fall under the emotional health category, which I feel is directly linked to financial health. She’s looking at everyone except me. She’s not making eye contact. Why is she smiling at everyone else? Did I do something to piss her off? I had arrived at a women’s event where I didn’t know many people. I consider myself to be friendly, warm, kind and likeable. As Brene Brown puts it: I’m really good at fitting in. I went around introducing myself, chatting, making small talk and then I met Her. When I shook hands with Her, there was a vibe that was a little off. Whatever, not a big deal. But, from that point it went downhill. She seemed to be deeply interested in what others had to say, but when I would say something her gaze seemed to wander off. Am I imagining this? Yes. No…I certainly am not. She hates me. I can tell. Is it my clothes? Does she not like Asians? Is it my breath? Is it me? I’ve been in more situations like this than I’d like to admit. Times when I meet someone and not only don’t feel a connection, but feel a bit repelled. When this happens to my friend, she brushes it off and believes it’s their loss. When this kind of thing happens to me I internalize it. I want everyone to like me, so if someone doesn’t it throws me off. Instead of enjoying all the other people in the room I get along with, I hone in on this one person....

How I Failed Epically

Growing up in an Asian immigrant family, I grew up constantly striving for perfection. I believed my worth was derived from perfect performance. I followed the perfect path. I went to an elite private high-school, Georgetown for college (well, I guess not so perfect, since I didn’t go to Harvard), joined Deloitte Consulting out of college, married in my twenties (of course my goal had been to be married before 30), had 2 beautiful children and became a Senior Manager at a Fortune 500 Company. If perfection was salvation than failure was death. So I thought, until I failed..a lot. Failure #1: Parenting I have friends who wanted to have children from when they were children themselves. I was never that kind of person. I honestly didn’t understand the allure of children, but having kids was part of the perfect story I was trying to create for my life. I would be the perfect parent. Take a few classes, discipline them when necessary, feed them and I’d have perfect children that fit in with my perfect life. Fast forward several years, as my son and I are out and about. He’s not listening and I drop the bomb of “no screen time for today.” I spend the next 20 minutes trying to physically restrain him as he bites, punches and kicks me, all the while calling me all kinds of names. People stare in shock, mouths are wide-open. This was not part of the picture-perfect story I wanted to show the world. This is not the image you put on a Christmas card. During this incident, all I could think...

That Hat I Was Jonesing For

Recently, I went on a date with my husband to a store selling hats. I don’t often wear hats, but there was a black felt hat I became fixated on. See picture above. Isn’t it darling? I tried it on and it made me look cool (at least I thought so). The hat was around $40 and I knew it was not in the budget, so I didn’t buy it. But, I was jonesing for it. That was a few weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it. I found one on Amazon that is very similar and it’s only $20. Dangerous words…only $20. A bunch of thoughts urging me to buy the hat came to mind…It’s a deal! You’d be positively dumb not to buy it. It’s only $20. How much could that affect your budget. C’mon! Your birthday is coming up. You’ve thought about it for weeks. This is not an impulse buy. Do it!  I felt my pulse quickening, I felt a tingling sensation in my shoulders. I could feel that edgy, nervous tightness in my stomach as I thought about buying it, knowing I shouldn’t. I looked at how I was tracking against my monthly budget. One of my best friend’s parent’s passed away suddenly and I plan on visiting her out of town next week. I plan on getting a haircut when I visit her, since her husband is my hairstylist and is incredible! I got a new life insurance policy and it seems I was triple-charged for the month. Of course, I will need to look into that and it maybe easily corrected, but I don’t...

What’s Your Personal Legend?

Photo by dynamosquito is licensed under CC BY 2.0 One of my favorite books of all time is Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. I decided to kick off this year reading it. Even though I’ve read this book several times, I was blown away by how inspired I was. The Alchemist is a very simple story about a shepherd boy, Santiago, who has to choose between his comfortable, familiar life versus pursuing his Personal Legend. A person’s Personal Legend is: “God’s blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth.” In Santiago’s case, his Personal Legend is to travel faraway to Egypt to find treasure, with no guarantee of success. What are the lessons we can learn from The Alchemist regarding our Personal Legend? 1. Identify Your Personal Legend What is that thing you are absolutely mad about, but scares you to dream of? In my case, I have 15 years of corporate management experience working for companies like Sony and Deloitte Consulting. The corporate world was my security blanket. I was good at what I did, I had an established network, I knew how to play the game and I made great money. But, I was slowly dying inside… I wanted to do something that changed people’s lives. I wanted purpose and I wanted to do something I was completely passionate about. For me, that passion is coaching and writing. However, the idea of leaving the familiarity of my corporate job and paycheck scared me to death. What could you do for hours without noticing time has passed? What do you feel you were born to do? 2. Overcome...

My Scary New Year Resolution

What? I can’t do that. People like me don’t do things like that. I met with an amazing mentor of mine, Chris Martinez, who challenged me to write a book. Thoughts filled my mind… I can’t do that.  Normal people like me don’t write books. What if I put all this time and energy into it and no one reads it? What if it’s no good? How will it reflect on me and who I am?  What if I fail and everyone laughs at me? Then logic kicked in… Do I have things that could help people if I shared them? Yes. Do I enjoy writing and would I like the process? Yes. Would it be cool to challenge myself in this way? Yes!!! Through the process of deciding to write a book, I’ve learned so much about limiting beliefs. Now with self-publishing and Amazon there’s nothing stopping anyone from writing a book or anything else. Actually, there is one thing…the belief you can’t do it. Do you ever think these thoughts? Who do I think I am to even dream of doing something like this? Why would anyone want to hear what I have to say? I’m really not that great at… Hebrews 11:1-“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I’ve heard this Scripture many times and never thought of it in the context of pursuing goals and dreams. I believe the only thing holding us back from what we want in life is our faith in whether or not we can achieve it. What limiting thoughts do you have?...

How to Avoid a Holiday Hangover

I have a term I like to use called the “Holiday hangover.” It’s not from drinking too much eggnog, but from overspending and overdoing it during the holidays. But, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!” Although, this really should be a joyous time of year it can also be extremely stressful.  With a few days left until Christmas, here are some tips on how to remember the reason for the season. 1. Simplify your schedule Although you’ve probably been invited to tons of holiday parties, you only have so much energy, time and money to allocate.  If there’s something you feel obligated to go to, but don’t want to, don’t.  Having time and space will allow you to have the joy and energy for those whom you love. 2. Bring cash When you’re going shopping, make a list and determine how much you will spend per person. Take out the cash before hand and leave your card at home. On average, Americans add $986 of debt during the holidays. I have to remind myself my children don’t need every item on their Christmas list to enjoy this season. I ask myself: Am I teaching my children Christmas is more about getting stuff or about spending quality time with loved ones and giving? 3. The gift of time I admire people who are super crafty and can bake magnificent treats. Unfortunately, I’m neither. For me, things like coupons to take someone to lunch, give a 30 minute back rub (my husband loves these), etc. are easy and give the recipient something to look forward to. As I like to say, experiences...

What gave you joy in 2015?

This is the time of year when I get reflective. I think about what I’m grateful for, what went well, what didn’t go well and where I want to go in the next year. Thinking about my life and business, I’ve been asking myself: What gives me joy? What can I do to have more joy in my work and life? This blog gives me immense joy. In fact, this is my 50th blog post, which I’m so excited about. Thank you so much for the opportunity to write, encourage and connect with those of you who take time out of your busy lives to read, comment and share what I have to say. In the midst of busyness, however, I’ve not been blogging as much as I would like.  There are other avenues I’d love to pursue, like podcasting and doing more video, but if I can’t be consistent blogging than there’s no point in adding something else. I will blog at least weekly, if not twice a week in 2015. Feel free to hold me accountable. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I love to blog about. Over the past year, I’ve definitely tinkered with different topics. None of you noticed, right? Of course I talk about money, but my belief is money is one of many tools to help you live your life well. Other things that lead to a life lived well are: spirituality, physical health, emotional health and balance. The name of my business and blog are Your Dream Realized. If you are living well, you are primed to realize your dreams and impact those around you. Am I an...

3 Ways I Found Sanity

Photo by Kathy Kimpel is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (Las Cruces, New Mexico) My life has been crazy. I’m sure you can relate. Nowadays, people seem to respond with “Busy’ more than “Good,” when I ask how they are. In her book Overwhelmed, Brigid Shulte gives a description that encapsulates the busyness epidemic: “’Always behind and always late, with one more thing and one more thing and one more thing to do before rushing out the door.’ Muting the phone during a conference call so no one can hear soccer practice drills in the background, stepping over mounds of unfolded laundry, waking up in a 2 a.m. panic to run over the to-do list, and then summing up your life to your friends—in the two seconds you dedicate to seeing your friends—as ‘crazy all the time’ while they nod in agreement.” Between the needs of my family, business, spirituality, part-time homeschooling, trying to have a social life, exercise, and oh yeah, my husband, it’s tough staying sane. I was feeling overwhelmed until a 13-hour road trip with two young children to Las Cruces, New Mexico in a small SUV. Wendy, was that a typo?  No. Originally, I had thought about all the work I would get done when I was in New Mexico. Instead, I decided to take the week off. What did I do? 1. I did nothing When was the last time you did nothing? One of the benefits of visiting a small town with nothing to do is you’re not running from place to place. Instead, we stayed at home, colored, read books and hung out.   I had time to...

How To Thwart ISIS

You may be surprised I’m blogging about this topic, but as a blogger who blogs about wellness, I feel it would be remiss not to say something about Paris. I started seeing stuff about Paris on my News Feed on Facebook.  Sadly, I’ve become used to hearing about kids being shot in schools and suicide bombings.  I didn’t think much of it at first. I watched CNN and was shocked at how the Paris attack was orchestrated and the degree of carnage.  I felt sadness, empathy, anger, disgust, rage, frustration and hate.  I felt hate toward ISIS.  To my embarrassment, for a moment, I felt anger and hate toward Muslims. My immediate knee jerk reaction was: This would not be happening if everyone was Christian.  We need to bomb and fight ISIS to the death.   I heard a quote from Donald Trump where he said “I would bomb the s— out of Isis.” Then I asked myself what Jesus would say or do. Matthew 5-“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.” Other translations say “Pray for your enemies.” I was listening to a discussion about Paris on NPR.  The group talked about how the people performing these acts of terror are typically not immigrants, but are citizens or people who grew up in...

Crystal Paine’s Antidote to Every Mom’s Dilemma

When my son was born I thought I only had two options. Option 1: I could be a stay-at-home mom and bring in no income, which was not really an option for us.  Option 2: I could continue working my corporate job, but not spend as much time with family as I wanted to. Another issue was I really enjoyed the mental stimulation of working and didn’t want to give up the skills I had worked years to develop. As a Money Coach, I meet with many Moms facing the same dilemma. But, what if there were a third option? What if you could spend more time with your family, but still do something that kept your skills up and brought your family income? Is it possible to have it all (as I talk about in another post)? Crystal Paine a.k.a. The Money Saving Mom (moneysavingmom.com) provides the antidote to this dilemma in her latest book: Money Making Mom. Like myself, Crystal has a passion for empowering Moms to spend quality time and provide for their families.  The Money Making Mom book is the only comprehensive guidebook I’ve seen that gives Moms the nuts and bolts of how to actually make it happen.  Crystal speaks to the factors and challenges only a Mom can understand.  Also, as an employer of 16 people and an uber-successful blog that has over a million viewers, we are able to learn from both the successes and failures of Crystal’s experience. 1. Seeing Your Vision When I meet with clients who are trying to save more money, get out of debt and cut their expenses, the only way they will be...

If You Have Trouble Saying No to Yourself

When I hear the word “No” it brings me back to Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign from the eighties. This is not a great connotation, considering the “Just Say No” campaign instilled morbid fear in my soul. I can still visualize Nancy Reagan’s pleading face on TV with her perfectly coiffed hairdo.  Scary. Not a great start to the word “No.” I am not a fan of the word “No,” at least when it’s directed at me. When it comes to not getting the food or stuff I want, I hate the word. I recently spoke with a client who also hates saying “No” to herself. It’s ironic that people who say “No” to the nice homes, cars, trips, bags and clothes most frequently are able to afford the really nice stuff later. There is a “Just Say No” muscle in all of us. It is either strong and well-chiseled, or it is weak and flabby, or somewhere in between. This muscle needs to be exercised and maintained. Recently, I decided I would embark on a “Just Say No” challenge in my spending. I would say “No” to at least one thing a day. Day 1: Said No to an iced tea I was jonesing for. Day 2: Said No to buying a coffee in the morning (caffeine-theme) and to carne asada fries (oh, the self-denial!). Day 3: Said No to a CS Lewis book on Kindle.  Decided to order the used copy instead. Day 4: Said No to a $9 amethyst bracelet that promised serenity, after one of those days with my children.  Also said No to a can of tomatoes for chili.  Made...