#VOWinvest: ROI & Relationships

Lin and I have both said it before: we think the Universe really digs this little game we are playing, because, somehow, these words and our weeks seem to consistently work together to teach us more than we ever imagined.

I anticipated being very intentional about where I spent my time last week. I spent last Sunday planning the days ahead. I also decided as part of my week focused on investing, I would finally schedule a consultation with a financial adviser to talk about retirement.

I did indeed do the latter (and learned that financial planning is a serious investment), but I have to be honest; my follow-through with the former didn’t go so well. Things came up. I didn’t sleep as much as I should have. I lost focus. And, I had a little too much fun a couple nights.

When it came time to write my #VOWinvest post, I realized as I sat down that the thing that derailed my well-made proposal was not the way I invested my time but with whom.

Derailed is actually the wrong word, because it sounds negative, and the fact is, this past week was not negative at all. Yes, I didn’t do everything I planned, but I did spend more time than I budgeted with people who fill me up. And doing that instead of crossing the things off my list I could have was a good ROI.

I mentioned it last week, and after a week of #VOWinvest-ing, I think I’m onto something:

The second half of 2017 will in large part be about tribe. About who I am okay losing sleep with. Who isn’t worth staying up for. In some cases, who I just need to let go of, because the return isn’t worth it, and who I need to…


…onto with everything I have.

Steph’s INVEST mantra: Pack light and love heavy. (Give the song below a listen.)

Steph’s Song of the Week: Bluebonnets (Julia’s Song) by Aaron Watson

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWinvest post (coming soon!).

A Time to Set Fire & #VOWspark

Sparking has always been easy for me—or for at least as long as it’s mattered. I’m not sure that I’ve ever noticed it myself, but I have had it pointed it out on more than one occasion. I can come up with an idea on the spot. You can tell when something makes me feel alive. And I have no problem introducing myself and asking a question that means something instead our DC standard: What is it that you do for a living?

As an aside, it’s normally, What was the last great book you read?

I know my days are better when I get eight hours of sleep and an early morning start.
When I create.
When I sweat.
When I meditate, even for just a few minutes.
And when I spend time in a hammock reading just a bit of poetry.

The best days involve a conversation with my grandparents or my sister.

It’s took me 27.5 years to get a handle on who I am.
It took me 28.5 to understand what makes my soul sing.

What I still don’t know is who does.

I feel like my #OneWord2017 of Build has very much so far been about the former (as it should be)—knowing what sets me on fire—and I think the focus for the rest of the year will be about who does.

I think I’ve known, on some deeper level, that this was coming. That there was work to be done. But it didn’t click until this week, following a particularly rough weekend, a reading with my astrologer regarding romance and friendships (I’m sure Lin or I will at some point explain how astrology is not prediction of the future and that it—just like praying or a therapist—can be a tool), and a few texts with my sister.

Despite my best attempts to ignore that still small voice that I’m beginning to become familiar with, I’ve also known deep in my bones since January of this year that I haven’t found my person yet. I’ve known there is a reason.

The reason involves The Work that I’ve been putting off; The Work I’m finally ready to do. To take a good hard look at the men (and women) that have played a part in my journey to this point—what I learned from them and how I could have treated them (and myself) better along the way.

So here’s to


And putting in the time this time.

Because as a writer I once knew quite well put it (words that I quote more often than she will ever know and in my List of Things to Build post):

At the heart of all this is the love of story. Because these letters, meals, parapets and gardens tell stories about time and how it is the currency of our hearts. The things that last are the things that are built–brick by brick–and planted–seed by seed–and then tended–day by day. And I like these things because they cost me something to invest in. If I pay the price, then it is worth something to me. It’s worth is only equal to what I am willing to pay for it.

There are some things in this life that take time to develop, things that are worth keeping sacred for the right moment. Things that will be more lovely if I pay the price of waiting and watching and sowing into it, even when I am uncomfortable and lonely and hopeful all at once.

Because anything worth everything will always cost us something. And this time, I’m willing to pay big time for it.

Steph’s SPARK mantra: I have always tried to make room for anything that wanted to come from within me. (Dr. Carl Gustav Jung)

Steph’s Song of the Week: Never Say Never by Tristan Prettyman

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWspark post.

P.S. Lin posted first, and I think actually her explanation of tarot cards is similar to what I referenced regarding astrology. We #mindmeld like that.