‘Sigh’.

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Wow, I haven’t written in like a month. My bad. Anyway, I came across this photo today while Pinterest-ing [is that a word? If not, it should be]. It really struck me. I’ve been having a lot of sad days lately, being stuck in this 24-year-old rut. I’m old enough to hold a Bachelors degree, hold a full time job, and pay bills. But at the same time I’m still young. Too young to be married, too young to have children, too young to own a home; or so society tells me. So what am I supposed to do? WAIT. That’s unfortunate. I know I could travel, but I’m broke. Driving the thirty minutes it takes to get to work every day is about the extent of my traveling excitement. I guess it’s a good thing that my job allows me explore activities and events in and around the Columbus area. I spend most of my free time on Facebook and Pinterest. One is social media that sucks me in to the lives of those that I haven’t seen or talked to in years; rubbing in my face the happily married, the newly expecting or the perfect child[ren], and those that are traveling the world like their billionaires. The other is a virtual pin board where I spend countless hours dreaming up my perfect wedding, dream home, and future. Seriously, I think I’m addicted. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just be happy with who I am and where I’m at in my life? Hell, I live with my best friend [we’ve been BFF’s since the 5th grade; how awesome is that?], I have an absolutely amazing boyfriend who I get to see more often than not, and I have two jobs that put most others to shame. So why am I so focused on doing what everyone else is doing? I can’t answer that. All I can say is that it’s okay to not be doing what everyone else is. My horoscope nailed it on the head this morning; it said…. “You are finally ready for a big change in your life. For the longest time you ignored it, subdued it, you drew boundaries and dared anyone to make you change. But now you are ready, willing and able and you are probably wondering why it isn’t happening. It will, when the time is right. In the meantime, prepare yourself for a bright future. It’s right on your horizon, waiting for the right moment to guide you forward. Find serenity in yourself, and let that be enough for now. Your big evolution will happen soon enough”. PERFECT. It is the wisdom I’ve been needing to hear. So, for now, I plan on focusing on me and finding serenity in the person I am at this stage of my life. I have accomplished many things at this young age, and I am very proud of myself. So that will have to be enough. Does anyone else feel this way? I’d love to hear your stories.

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Total Money Makeover

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Wow, it has been entirely too long since I’ve updated. I guess that’s what working two jobs and having crazy hours will do to you. Anyway, my boyfriend and I have been reading this book called The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I highly recommend it! Kenny has read it about 5 or 6 times (and he HATES reading!); I, on the other hand, have only read it once. But I borrowed the audio book from the library and now we listen to it in his car any time we go somewhere. It will make you feel silly, and it will make you realize how much common sense we as a society do not have about spending. Do you know that throughout your adult working life you make about two million dollars? Neither did I! Our problem is that we spend it on stupid things like new cars, toys, etc. and not enough on the necessities like food, housing, clothing. We are so convinced that we need credit to thrive in this world that we rack it up in the thousands. Ridiculous!  If we spent that time investing our money and paying off our debt, we’d be a much happier society. Now, I’m not saying this to bash…heck, I’ve racked up quite a few thousand dollars in debt thanks to student loans and a credit card. I, however, have read Dave’s book and am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I am taking a stand on September 1, 2012 and having a Total Money Makeover. Now, I’ve already started budgeting. I started the ‘envelope system’ (that Dave actually created, but I had no idea), and budgeting my spending for the month in to specific labeled envelopes. It went well! I went over budget, but I at least know how much I’ll be needing to spend per month on things like groceries, gas, toiletries, etc. Dave’s system includes ‘7 Baby Steps’; these steps WILL get you out of debt, one baby step at a time. Instead of listing the steps one by one on my blog, I’ll just give you the link and you can check it out for yourself. Have I got your mind thinking? Is this turning on a lightbulb somewhere upstairs? If so, I highly suggest you check out the link below and then read Dave’s Total Money Makeover. You won’t regret it. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to start this process, especially with Kenny by my side! Not too mention, it’s helping our relationship. We have already agreed that we’re not wasting our money on rent and will stay where we are until we are able to save enough money for half or all of a down payment on a house. It may take a year or two, but we will get there. It’s fun for both of us to have control and independence with our money and we’re able to bounce budget ideas off of one another. I can’t even imagine what a disaster it could’ve been if we had waited to do this if we get married. We were fortunate to realize we both have the same ideas about our spending and what we plan to spend it on in the future. My baby steps have one more added step, however, because I need to get current with my ‘creditors’. Now, I don’t not pay off my bills each month, I do. But since I work as an Independent Provider through two County Boards of Developmental Disabilities here in Columbus, my taxes do not get taken out each paycheck. Therefore, I have to get current with the amount of money I will owe the IRS come tax day. I have a plan, and I am no longer as frightened as I was about a month ago when I had to use my already saved ‘tax day money’ for medical bills I did not plan to have. I have typed my ‘baby steps’ and labeled them goals. I taped those goals to my closet door and am now forced to notice them every time I come into my room. As I complete each goal/baby step, I will cross it off and move on to the next one. I have written a start date and a completion date. I am under no illusion that this will be fast or easy. It is going to be very time-consuming, long and difficult. It will probably take me at least 2 years or more. However, I am very ready to spend the next few years working my butt off to become debt free. Are you?

The link to Dave’s ‘Baby Steps’: http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/

Dave’s page: http://www.daveramsey.com/home/

And last but not least, here’s my plan for my Total Money Makeover:

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“Some people just need a high-five, in the face….with a chair.”

What a bad day. They seem to be coming more often than not lately. It’s unnerving. 

It started when I accidentally fell back asleep this morning and slept through my alarm; I woke up 15 minutes before I had to leave for work. Side note: anyone that knows me knows that I hate being rushed. I like to take my time in the morning; shower, drink a cup of coffee, eat breakfast, maybe read part of a book, etc. Yeah, that did NOT happen today. Not only was I rushed, but my joyous commute was full of idiots. Literally. How can so many people not know how to drive? Work was long, like 9:30am-8:00pm, long. I should be used to it, that’s my schedule every Wednesday, and some of the other days are worse. However, knowing I had such a long day in front of me did not help my ‘waking up on the wrong side of the bed’ syndrome. I finally made it through work with a throbbing headache, but in one piece. I thought my night would get better when I made the phone call I make every night when I get off work. Fat chance. The stars were aligned against me and wreaked havoc on an already horrid day. How can your day possibly get better when the one person you need/want to make you feel better only ends up making things worse? I want to cry. Shed big tears and loud heavy sighs. But alas, I have to pick myself up and carry on, because I am the one that has to be in control of how I feel. So I got home, took a shower, and made myself a cup of coffee. I know just because I had a bad day it doesn’t mean I have a bad life. I’m not naive. I just wish that I didn’t feel like the weight of the world is always on my shoulders. And with that, I am done with my rant. I am finished with my 15-minute sulking period and am forcing myself to put my thoughts elsewhere. Here’s to hoping you’re day was a bit more peachy.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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Sunday, my sisters and I were able to celebrate with my Dad for his 54th birthday. Since he’s moved to Louisville, Kentucky and I’ve been here in Columbus we haven’t been able to get together as a family since, well… I can’t even remember. Thank the lucky stars, we were able to reconnect for a ‘Saturday morning breakfast’; our weekly tradition that we have been fortunate enough to partake in for the past several years. Literally, we went to breakfast at Cold Creek every Saturday [or Sunday, depending on our schedules]. It’s a tiny restaurant located in Castalia, Ohio; with cheap but incredible food! Only a select few have been fortunate enough to partake in our tradition and I can’t tell you how many people have asked to join us on our exertions. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything, and it’s times like these, sitting up in room during the wee hours of the night that I think back to my childhood and reminisce with a smile. I had a great childhood and I love that my dad captured most of it on film. This past weekend I attempted to do the same. I got out the old camera [one with video capabilities] and filmed most of our breakfast and car-riding tradition. I put together this video as a way for my dad and sisters, and even myself, to cherish the memories of our Saturday mornings, because now those breakfasts are few and far between. I miss my family; my crazy, silly, hysterical, off-the-wall family. I hope this video shows you a side of them that I have been lucky enough to know and love for the past 24 years….

Update: Sorry for the inconvenience, but for some reason the link won’t load. If you’d like to check out the video just head over to my Facebook page, I’ll post the link below. You should be able to access it from there!

http://www.facebook.com/samantha.wolf.35

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Image©Samantha Wolf

I enjoy photography; simple as that. It’s been my passion for quite a few years and every now and again throughout my busy schedule I am able to sneak in a quick shoot. I only wish my camera quality was as good as I believe my creative quality can be. I shot this photo [along with a few others] for my sister’s friend who happens to be pregnant with her first child, due in October. This shoot was planned today and didn’t end up happening until literally 8:00pm. Luckily, the lighting was awesome and we got in a few good shots. While I have unfortunately let this hobby fall to the way-side in the last few months, I hope I never lose my passion for photography. I recall my boyfriend telling me a few weeks back that wanted me to begin taking photos again. He said I seemed happier because I was doing something I truly enjoyed. Those words hit me hard, as I realized most of my daily life is mundane and exhausting. While I love my current jobs and the amazing people I care for, I can’t help but hope that this hobby eventually becomes something much more. And with that, I will leave you with my favorite shot of the night. 🙂

Image©Samantha Wolf

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Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days.

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Cookie dough. EDIBLE cookie dough. Yup, that’s what I spent my night doing, or eating, rather. I found this recipe on Pinterest [I will post the link below]; such a simple recipe without any harmful ingredients, for those nights when you’re just craving something sweet. Tonight was a night of vegging and catching up with two of my very dear friends who I unfortunately haven’t seen in months, because well..we’re just busy. I ventured to Sandusky this afternoon, my beloved hometown, for a weekend visit with my family. And no visit is complete without a Chet & Matt’s pizza binge night with your girls, am I right? Now, I love my boyfriend and am a bit sad he wasn’t able to venture to the Dusk with me this weekend, but I can definitely say that this ‘girl’s night’ was much needed. Living in Columbus I don’t have very many close girl friends, so it’s nice to come home and relish in the love and support of those who know me best. It’s been said that friendship is precious, something that usually comes and goes throughout the years. My God, am I thankful that I have been blessed with the same friendships since a young age. I’ve been able to grow, change, and venture out into the world without an ounce of doubt that these women would ever leave my side. I know when the days come, these beautiful people will be next to me as I begin my journey with another soul, as I someday bring new life into this world, and as I continue on this path of finding who I am. It’s nights like these I enjoy the most; sitting around in our sweatpants, pigging out on junk-food and relinquishing memories from the past. Simple. Perfectly simple. I love this quote by Eugene Kennedy, “The real test of friendship is: can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?”. He describes it best. So friends, have you recently enjoyed those moments of life that are utterly simple? I highly recommend it!

So here is the link to the cookie dough recipe, as promised. Enjoy! http://willowbirdbaking.com/2011/03/20/three-safe-to-eat-cookie-doughs-chocolate-chip-sugar-and-cake-batter/

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Where to start…

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“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”– Maya Angelou

I’ve never been one with words; spoken words, that is. I’ve always used photography and writing as a means to express who I am. Suffering from a lisp as a small child and possessing the horrid “first-born child syndrome” characteristics [compliancy, quietness and oversensitivity… to name a few] have done a number on my ability to express myself verbally. Apparently, I mumble, as well. No, really; I am told on an almost daily basis. Being asked several times in a matter of minutes to repeat yourself, really does something to your self-esteem. It’s gotten to the point where I can tell exactly when someone has no idea what I’ve just said but doesn’t have the courage to ask me to repeat myself for the 5th time, so they smile awkwardly and nod. Because of these sometimes amusing, but always frustrating interactions, I tend to lean more on the quiet side. People think I’m indecisive or don’t have an opinion, when in reality I just lack a voice [a loud, steady, clear voice]. I guess that is why I chose the career path that I did. As an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University, I studied Developmental Disabilities and Habilitation. Currently I work as a Direct Care Provider for two very fun-loving individuals who in the eyes of many also “lack a voice”. While at times I may not be able to get my own messages across to others, I will fight with everything in me to get their messages out and heard. The photograph shown above is a glimpse of me that I would otherwise not be able to express in words. With just a quick glance you are able to see my interests, my love, my life. This is who I am, do you believe me?